Day of firsts: Marines flex their amphibious muscles with Japanese troops during Okinawa beach raid
KIN, Okinawa — A new Japan Ground Self-Defense Force unit joined with the outfit it most resembles, the U.S. Marines, for a series of firsts during a recent exercise on Okinawa.
The JGSDF Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade and a landing team from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit hit the beach Sunday to simulate battle with an enemy force. The units deployed together from the America Expeditionary Strike Group for the first time.
The Marines notched another first by deploying an M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, to the beach using a landing craft air cushion and simulating a rocket launch. They are the first Marine expeditionary unit to have an attached HIMARS platoon.
The exercise, which began Jan. 25 and ends Thursday, is designed to strengthen the allies’ amphibious capabilities, especially small-boat operations, officials from both militaries said. Sunday’s drill featured about 150 Marines and 60 Japanese troops.
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