U.S. and Japanese Forces Participate in Planning Exercise 
By Staff Sgt. Jimmy H. Bention, Jr. 
Naval Station San Diego -Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and sailors from the USS San Diego, PHIBRON 5 and PCU America participated in a planning exercise with members of the Japanese Ground and Maritime Self Defense Force June 3-8 at Naval Base San Diego on the Japanese vessel Hyuga.

The purpose of the weeklong course was to work with the Japanese forces and help them with staff planning in order to better help the commander conduct amphibious operations.

"We know how to conduct amphibious operations," said Col. Matthew G. Trollinger, 11th MEU commanding officer. "So we are here to be mentors and share our best practices to our Japanese allies so they may be able to increase their knowledge in the planning process and execution of amphibious operations.”

The self-defense forces received training from instructors from instructors during the first two days of the course from the Naval War College and Expeditionary Warfare Training Group-Pacific. The next three days, the self-defense forces were given an exercise and went through the joint planning process to coordinate its execution.

"We are here to help them [Japanese Self Defense Forces] coordinate planning between their ground component and maritime component so they can effectively work together when coordinating amphibious operations," said Cmdr. Chris Kipp, EWTG-PAC director of the staff planning division.

"I was with this group about nine months ago in Japan and the progress that they have made between then and now is tremendous. Their planning proficiency is a lot better and it’s great that we have our Marines and sailors here to be able to explain to them how our blue-green team works together," Kipp added.

This training is part of Exercise Dawn Blitz, which is one of a series of amphibious training events on both coasts of the U.S. that take place annually.

“We normally work separately, but it is imperative that our ground and maritime forces work together because the world is joint now,” said Cdr. Kiyoshi Asano, JMSDF Ops staff CCF2. “I have worked with the United States during Exercise Iron Fist and have a great appreciation of the training that they have to offer. This table top exercise will greatly help us increase our amphibious capabilities.”

Dawn Blitz 2013 is a scenario-driven exercise designed to test Navy and Marine Corps forces at the Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) and Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) level, while promoting military-to-military cooperation and interoperability with partnered nations. Participating countries include Canada, Japan, New Zealand and military observers from seven countries.

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