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NEWS | Oct. 16, 2023

III Marine Expeditionary Force participates in Resolute Dragon 23 Field Training Exercise

By Sgt. Savannah Mesimer, III Marine Expeditionary Force

III Marine Expeditionary Force began participation in the field training exercise portion of Resolute Dragon 23 with an opening ceremony on Oct. 14. RD 23 FTX, spanning from Oct. 14 to Oct 31, 2023, is the third iteration of the bilateral exercise hosted by III MEF and the Japan Ground Self-Defense and will feature forces in multiple locations across Japan. Both U.S. and Japan units will rehearse to strengthen their command, control, and multi-domain maneuver capabilities as part of a stand-in force.

“This training will continue to build upon and emphasize linkages between the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s cross domain operations and Marine Corps concepts like expeditionary advanced base operations and support to all-domain fleet and joint operations,” said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Adam Chalkley, the 3rd Marine Logistics Group commanding general. “It will also showcase our partnership’s ability to deter and counter threats by deploying and dispersing throughout the first island chain, and to be postured to fight from anywhere.”

U.S. Army forces, such as the 1st Multi-Domain Task Force, elements of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet, and the U.S. Air Force’s 353 Special Operations Wing will work alongside the Western Army, JGSDF, and external enablers to include Air and Maritime Self-Defense Forces in this iteration. III MEF will contribute approximately 3,300 Marines and Sailors to the exercise.

RD 23 FTX will showcase many firsts, including the implementation of bilateral live fire between Marine Corps M142 high mobility artillery rocket launchers and JGSDF M270 multiple launch rocket systems. The Marines will rehearse rapid infiltration with the HIMARS into the Yausubestu Maneuver Area via Kenebestu Airfield. This rehearsal will enhance the lethality of the partnered forces and train for rapid response to crises as a singular, unified force.

Another first will be airfield damage repair training during RD 23 FTX between III MEF, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, and JGSDF Western Army 8th Division Engineers. This training will strengthen III MEF’s integration with the Navy and JGSDF Western Army and will provide an opportunity to share best practices.

There will be 19 installations and facilities in use, ranging from Hokkaido to Kyushu and the southwestern islands. In Kyushu and the southern islands, the Western Army and III MEF will participate in a field training exercise, rehearsing tasks as a Joint Force Littoral Component Command for the first time, strengthening their combined-joint response to threats.

“For the first time, we will conduct bilateral training at Camp Ishigaki, which opened this past spring, as part of the field training exercise portion of Resolute Dragon 23 with our JGSDF counterparts,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Tina Terry, the III Marine Expeditionary Force Japan operations branch desk officer. “Bilateral training at Camp Ishigaki will include a bilateral coordination center which will coordinate a variety of operations and include integration of members from the U.S. Army’s 1st Multi-Domain Task Force, radar operations, a medical facility, which will support casualty evacuation training between the JGSDF and III MEF, and a subject matter expert exchange for forward air refueling point training.”

RD 23 FTX is designed to strengthen bilateral operational capabilities and interoperability between the U.S. Marine Corps and JSDF with an emphasis on air-ground integration and combined arms live-fire training. III MEF’s coordination and collaboration with the JSDF is a leading effort in both countries’ shared vision of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.

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