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Sgt. Sugimoto Yoshitaka fires the Type 01 LMAT Anti-Tank Missile System during Forest Light 16-1 at Camp Imazu, Takashima, Japan, Sept. 7, 2015. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and U.S. Marines shared knowledge about different anti-tank missile systems. After giving specifications of their respective weapon systems, the two forces used practice rounds to demonstrate how well the weapon systems work. Forest Light will take place Sept. 7-18 with approximately 240 Marines working next to 350 JGSDF members. The exercise will consist of mortar live fire, establishing forward arming and refueling points training, helicopter borne skills and combined arms procedures. Sugimoto is an anti-tank missile man with 50th infantry regiment, 14th Brigade.

Photo by Cpl. Devon Tindle

JGSDF, Marines shoot anti-tank missiles at Forest Light 16-1

11 Sep 2015 | Cpl. Devon Tindle The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members and U.S. Marines shared knowledge about anti-tank missiles during Forest Light 16-1 at Camp Imazu, Takashima, Japan, Sept. 7, 2015.

“Today we showed the Japanese our shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon, its capabilities and how it works, and in return they showed us their weapon systems,” said Cpl. Brandon Crain, an assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “(This) is important for both sides in a case that we go to war alongside the JGSDF. We know what they are using and how they are using it, and they know what we are using and how we are using it.”

The JGSDF fired seven rockets in total from two different firing systems to familiarize the Marines with their procedures, according to Crain from Leander, Texas. 

“Seeing the weapon systems in use, how they did their battle drills, how they went through their procedures, just seeing all that and how it differs from us is a pretty cool experience,” said Crain. “Before it started, I thought it was going to be similar just because that’s what I’m used to, but coming here and seeing a different military and how they fire their weapon systems is very educational.”

The teamwork between the two countries became stronger after the demonstrations of the rockets, according to Sgt. Sugimoto Yoshitaka, an assaultman with 50th Infantry Regiment, 14th Brigade, JGSDF. 

“Showing each other our capabilities with our weapon systems helps us learn and work as one for future exercises,” said Yoshitaka. “We are looking forward to training with the Marines more and hope that we get more exercises like Forest Light.”