Major Sergeant First Class Nagai, Western Infantry Regiment. (Click to enlarge.) U.S. Marine Corps photo.

Iron Fist 2011, the annual U.S. – Japanese amphibious warfare exercises kicked off today at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. The exercises, held since 2006, are designed to showcase marine skills, from small boat operations to company-sized live-fire events. The exercise will go on until March 8th.

Iron Fist 2009 involves Japan’s Western Infantry Regiment (Company III, which may explain the “III” on Major Sergeant First Class Nagai’s shoulder patch) and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, along with elements of the 1st Marine Tank Battalion, Combat Logistics Battalion 11, and Helicopter Squadron 268 (CH-46E). The U.S. Navy will participate in the form of USS Makin Island and USS Dubuque.

NTD TV video from Iron Fist 2010.

In addition to the exercises on the ground, both U.S. Marines and Japanese troops will board Makin Island and Dubuque and perform ship to shore movements, as well as command and control afloat. Ship to shore involves LCAC air cushion transports and Marine Corps helicopters.

Iron Fist 2009; GSDF troops aboard CH-46 medium helicopter. Note 84mm Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle to right. U.S. Marine Corps photo.

I’m covering the exercises next week from the beach on Camp Pendleton, at the invitation of the U.S. Marine Corps. I’ll be there for two days; the first day will involve elements of 1st Tank Battalion and the 3 Co./WIR working on securing beach operations, and the second day will be devoted to defensive operations. Stay tuned!

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch