The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) conducted amphibious training during exercise Dawn Blitz June 17-28, 2013.
The events included troop insertions on San Clemente Island by U.S. Marines aboard three MV-22 Ospreys and Japanese soldiers aboard Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) CH-47s, Marine AH-1 Cobra maneuvers and a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) landing craft air cushion (LCAC) offloading armored vehicles.
The activities culminated after two years of extensive planning by Sailors and Marines from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, Expeditionary Strike Group 3 (ESG 3), I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and was part of a series of live training events. Dawn Blitz also includes forces from Canada and New Zealand.
“We have six ships, about 25 aircraft and 2,500 personnel participating in a variety of operations that are wrapped under the umbrella of Dawn Blitz,” said Rear Adm. Gerard P. Hueber, commander, ESG 3. “It is an opportunity for the U.S. Navy to work with coalition partners and exercise on these training regions in Southern California to our operational readiness,” Hueber added.
“Exercising our core amphibious capabilities is something that we, the United States Marine Corps have been working very closely with many of our allies in the Pacific, to include Australia, New Zealand, India and, of course, Japan,” said Marine Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, I MEF commanding general.
Hueber referenced the state-of-the-art ranges owned by the Navy that are available for training.
“We are fortunate to have unparalleled amphibious training ranges located here in Southern California that enable us to provide realistic, relevant training that strengthens our ability to operate together, whether to respond to natural disasters, crises or conducting operations throughout the Pacific,” said Hueber.
JSDF Lt. Gen. Koichi Isobe, vice chief of joint staff, expressed similar sentiments alongside his U.S. counterparts.
“On this occasion, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the U.S. forces and other organizations participating in this exercise,” Isobe said. “As we all know, the United States and Japan have a strong alliance and share the same values like democracy, freedom, the rule of law, the freedom of navigation and [we] also share the same common Pacific interests.”
Throughout the last week of the exercise, New Zealand and Canadian forces conducted diving and mine clearance training off the coast of Camp Pendleton and Port Hueneme.
Joint, interagency and international relationships strengthen U.S. 3rd Fleet’s ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners.