An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Dec. 7, 2022

U.S. Marines, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Exercise Defensive Capabilities Across Multiple Islands during Keen Sword 23

By 2nd Lt. Duncan McClain 3rd Marine Division

OKINAWA, Japan -- The exercise kicked off with the establishment of three Bilateral Ground Tactical Coordination Centers (BGTCCs) at three different locations in the Nansei Islands where Marines from the 3d Marine Division, 12th Marine Regiment, and 3d Battalion, 12th Marines worked with their Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) counterparts to plan and coordinate operations together.

“The BGTCC is similar to a combat operations center where we de-conflict fire missions with the Japanese, as well as collect and exchange data with other units within the Marine Expeditionary Force and Division,” said Sgt. Christian Secor, a satellite communications operator with 12th Marine Regiment.

While the BGTCC is a relatively new concept, these bilateral command and control nodes were employed and further developed by 12th Marines and the JGSDF during several exercises over the past year to include Resolute Dragon 22, Keen Edge 22, and Resolute Dragon 21.

“The mission of 12th Marines, particularly here, is to ensure that we can link the significant capabilities of the Japan Self-Defense Force, back to the joint force, and put the U.S. joint force in support of them,” said Col. Jonathan N. Sims, commanding officer of 12th Marine Regiment.

Meanwhile, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines embarked on the USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and partnered with the JGSDF’s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB) for an amphibious assault on the island of Tokunoshima. During this operation, the ARDB secured the beach coming from ship-to-shore in amphibious assault vehicles while the U.S. Marines provided reinforced with additional combat power via MV-22B Ospreys.

“We were doing an air assault from the USS New Orleans, but we really demonstrated the capability to get to where we needed to go,” said Capt. Connor Keating, a company commander with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines. “The ARDB is a very capable and willing force. We know that if we find ourselves side by side with them we are in a good place.”

In a separate training event, another group from the ARDB and 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines inserted via CH-47JA Chinooks and MV-22B Ospreys to secure and defend the remote island of Tsutara. The combined ground forces landed on rocky beaches and traversed the steep terrain within dense jungles to accomplish their mission.

While Keen Sword is designed to strengthen interoperability and combat readiness, there is also a relational component that comes from operating closely with friends, partners, and allies.

“This training allows us work with units and people that prepare us for a real-world deployment,” said Sgt. Javier Camilo, a data systems administrator with 12th Marine Regiment. “Being able to work with members of the JGSDF face-to-face helps improve our understanding of the situation and improve communication.”

From a broader perspective, the exercise demonstrates a commitment from Japan and the United States to mutual defense and regional security. Keen Sword 23 is part of a biennial exercise series conducted since 1986 that demonstrates the combined capabilities and lethality developed between U.S. military and the Japan Self-Defense Force.

“Every rep and set we can get working with any of our partners is important to us,” said Sims. “Conflict will always be an allied effort.”

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
338,132
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Austin Notes Progress on Development of Australia's Nuclear-Powered Sub
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Richard Marles pose for a photo during a bilateral exchange at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Feb 3, 2023. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Kubitza)
Feb. 7, 2023 - The U.S. and Australia signaled their continued commitment to AUKUS, which is the trilateral security pact among Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S., formed in 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said...

AFRIMS attend Royal Thai Army anniversary celebration
Maj. Taylor Whitten, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, executive officer and Royal Thai Army Surgeon General Wuticha Isara hold a hat with the letters 123 inscribed on it to celebrate the RTA Medical Department's 123rd Anniversary Ceremony, Jan. 9. The celebration brought together 225 attendees and professionals in military medicine from around the local region representing RTA, RTAMED, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Thai Police, private industry, government, and academia. Representatives from AFRIMS were invited to join the ceremony as the only foreign military presence. (Courtesy photo)
Feb. 6, 2023 - Members from the U.S Army Medical Directorate- Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences attended the Royal Thai Army Medical Department 123rd Anniversary Ceremony, Jan. 9. The celebration brought together 225...

Ceremony commemorates 72 years since Battle of Hill 180
A statue of Capt. Lewis Millet sits near the memorial site of the Battle of Hill 180 on Osan Air Base, South Korea. The base held its annual Battle of Hill 180 ceremony Feb. 2, 2023.
Feb. 6, 2023 - In honor of the nine Soldiers who perished during the battle, Osan Air Base hosts an annual Battle of Hill 180 ceremony. This year's commemoration was held Feb. 2. Attendees payed their respects with the laying of wreaths and...

Guided-Missile Cruiser USS Shiloh Concludes 10-Day Surface Warfare Advanced Technical Training (SWATT) in the Philippine Sea
PHILIPPINE SEA (Jan. 23, 2023) The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) fires a standard missile during a live-fire exercise in the Philippine Sea, Jan. 23, 2023. Shiloh is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Santiago Navarro)
Feb. 6, 2023 - The exercises tested Shiloh’s, proficiency in combat capability, lethality, as well as interoperability with other nations.Shiloh participated alongside other units including USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115), USS Chancellorsville...

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Strengthens Cooperation in Visit to Timor-Leste
U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Strengthens Cooperation in Visit to Timor-Leste
Feb. 3, 2023 - Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Timor-Leste Feb. 1-3, to strengthen our security cooperation and enduring partnership between our countries.In meetings with President José Ramos-Horta,...