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By Cpl. Antonio Rubio
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni
For the first time, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s 102nd Central Nuclear Biological Chemical Weapon Defense Unit, Marine Aircraft Group 12 and the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Fire Station collaborated to conduct interoperability training while executing Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear and Hazardous Material Emergency Response Operations, Nov. 6 – 9, 2014, aboard MCAS Iwakuni, Japan.
This exercise helped to establish a strong working foundation for new training procedures and foster valuable friendships to enhance the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response of MAG-12, MCAS Iwakuni and JGSDF.
“The purpose is to view and critique each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures. They get to see how our conventional military, as well as our civilian first responders, handle things,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Davis, CBRN officer for MAG-12.
Davis said the main focus for the exercise was to identify how each group conducted reconnaissance missions. This opportunity provided everyone involved a better understanding of each other’s capabilities, allowing them to augment one another.
“They have capabilities that we don’t have and vice versa, so we can understand and integrate with one another to ultimately enhance the combat readiness for the JGSDF, station and MAG as a whole,” said Davis.
Throughout the four-day training event, multiple emergency drills were conducted. One drill simulated a response emergency involving living personnel; a situation the MCAS Iwakuni Fire Station is trained to handle, but the 102nd Central NBC Weapon Defense Unit is not qualified to approach. With countless hours of training, the unit was able to efficiently detect the simulated chemicals, contain the hazardous materials and rescue the victims.
“This training exercise is great for the U.S.–Japan Alliance because working together to accomplish the mission under stressful conditions brought us closer in the end,” said 1st Lt. Katsumuata Shinya, company commander for the 102nd Central NBC Weapon Defense Unit. “We learned better ways to help one another.”
Shinya said the 102nd Central NBC Weapon Defense Unit is an asset to the Marine Corps. Training side-by-side, Shinya said he and his men learned the skills necessary to be efficient in various operations. The two nations refined communication techniques, allowing fewer obstacles to hinder mission accomplishment.
Throughout this evolution, everyone took notes for further learning opportunities. With the knowledge received and passed on, Davis hopes to do this training in the future and said he believes it was a success.
“The result of this training was that we enhanced our ability to respond together. If there is an incident in this area, the 102nd Central NBC Weapon Defense Unit can rapidly deploy to reinforce us and augment our capability so we can have better protection for the base and we can continue to execute our mission as required,” said Davis.
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