NEWS | Dec. 9, 2020

3rd MEB and the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade begin Annual Command Post Exercise Yama Sakura 79

By Courtesy Story 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade

OKINAWA, Japan -- III Marine Expeditionary Force’s 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF ) Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade are taking part in Yama Sakura 79, an annual command post exercise, Dec. 9 to Dec. 14, 2020 at Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan. The Camp Courtney portion of the exercise is part of a larger U.S. Army First Corps (I Corps) and the JGSDF’s Western Army exercise Yama Sakura 79 with events at Camp Kengun, Camp Asaka and other locations in Japan and the United States.

The exercise incorporates live, virtual and constructive command and control from multiple locations in order to mitigate COVID-19 threats. The disparate locations and exercise design also provides the opportunity to explore new Marine Corps warfighting concepts, including Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations.

Beginning in 1982, Yama Sakura has focused on the defense of Japan with bilateral planning, coordination, and interoperability between JGSDF and U.S. military units, including 3D MEB and I Corps. This exercises highlights the continued commitment by both the United States and Japan to enhance American and Japanese combat readiness and integration while strengthening bilateral relationships.

“While today’s world is full of uncertainty, we know that the strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance is unshakeable,” said Brig. Gen. Kyle Ellison, 3D MEB commanding general. “As a command post exercise, Yama Sakura’s objectives help the 3D MEB and the ARDB be resilient, ready and relevant as we work together towards a common purpose. All should know our mutual commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region is stalwart.”

The U.S.-Japan Alliance has served as a foundation for regional peace and security for nearly 70 years allowing the United States and Japan to forge a relationship built on a shared vision of peace, prosperity, democracy and regional stability. Yama Sakura 79 is essential to maintaining peace and security in Japan and the Indo-Pacific region. A free and open Indo-Pacific is achieved through our two nations united by values, interests, and commitment to mutual security.

The U.S. Forces in Japan help provide for the defense of Japan and to maintain peace and security in the region. The U.S. is committed to providing forward-deployed forces that can rapidly react to counter aggression against Japan and other allies and partners.

Even with the ongoing pandemic, the U.S. and Japan are committed to executing bilateral exercises, such as Yama Sakura 79, while maintaining the safety of the local public. The ability of both forces to adapt in an ever-changing environment speaks to the increasing strength and interoperability that exists within the U.S.-Japan Alliance.