MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Marines and 1st Company, 46th Infantry Regiment, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers came together for Exercise Guard and Protect at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Oct 20-23, 2015.
Guard and Protect is a joint security force operation that enables readiness in case the station has to make a defense posture. Marines and JGSDF soldiers carried out scenarios such as riot control, armed intruder response, improvised explosive device response and vehicle searches.
“This week we executed our guard and protect exercise,” said Maj. Jacob Hoskins, the Station Provost Marshal. “When we go from delta to a war time posture, we initiate guard and protect to help support and defend the installation.”
The exercise tested Marines and JGSDF ability to work together under real world situations, and share perspectives on wartime tactics.
“It’s important that we build strong relationships with the Japanese,” said Hoskins. “We need to know how they fight and what their capabilities are to help better protect this installation to keep everyone safe.”
This year’s exercise posed a new challenge for the Marines and JGSDF as the language barriers between the troops added a level of confusion that took creative communication to break through.
“Last year we had a lot of interpreters to help with the communication gap,” said Hoskins. “This year we took away all interpreters. It forced the Marines and soldiers to communicate within themselves whether, with arm and hand signals, using phones or whatever way they could find to effectively communicate.”
Lt. Jonathan Boron, operations officer for the station Provost Marshal’s Office, said despite language barriers, Marines and JGSDF had creative ways to bridge that gap and accomplish the mission.
“It’s definitely tough to communicate with the Japanese,” said Boron. “But I feel that the Marines and JGSDF did an excellent job of coming together to accomplish the mission. I could see the camaraderie that was built during this exercise and it helped build a stronger relationship with the Japanese.”
Capt. Shinichiro Maeda, 1st Company Commander, 46 Infantry Regiment, said it was an honor to work alongside the U.S. in such cooperation.
“I have never experienced such a partnership with the U.S. military as I did with this exercise,” said Maeda. “It is important and beneficial that we work together to defend our relationship”