Bilateral training commences with Forest Light
By Lance Cpl. Jose D. Lujano
| Marine Corps Installations Pacific | August 30, 2012
CAMP BEPPU, Oita, Japan --
The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and U.S. Marines officially began Exercise Forest Light 12-01 with a social engagement hosted by the JGSDF at Camp Beppu, Japan, Aug. 19.
Marines and sailors with Combat Assault Battalion and 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, attended the event. Both are with 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines, is deployed to Okinawa under the unit deployment program. The Japanese soldiers are assigned to the 41st Infantry Regiment.
The event was designed to strengthen the bond between the Japanese and U.S. service members, allowing them to interact and mingle with each other.
"Americans are friendly, and I enjoy laughing and getting to know my new brothers," said Cpl. Ryosuke Arimura, an infantryman with the JGSDF. "There were no chairs because we want to be able to walk around and go to other tables to meet more brothers."
During the exchange, the JGSDF provided assorted foods and a traditional music performance.
"We embraced the warm welcome from the Japanese and enjoyed the company and culture of the JGSDF members," said Lance Cpl. Kyle A. Cravener, a machine gunner with 2nd Bn., 3rd Marines.
According to Cravener, the event hosted by the JGSDF was the perfect beginning to Forest Light 12-01 and provided a firm foundation from which the units can build.
Not long after the social engagement and opening ceremony, sailors with CAB's battalion aide station and members of the Japanese aide station began working collectively to learn and improve from each other's medical expertise at the Hijudai Maneuver Area, Oita prefecture, Japan, during the medical readiness portion of the exercise.
"The corpsmen are very advanced when it comes to tactics in the medical field," said Lt. Col. Higashi Keishi, a surgeon with the Japanese Aide Station. "It is a good way for us to come together, learn new things, and build our relationship with each other."
Service members from both aide stations showcased their medical equipment and techniques and were given the opportunity to practice their lifesaving capabilities during the exchange.
"We were able to demonstrate the equipment and medical procedures that we use to the JGSDF medical personnel," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Zachary D. Dennis, a hospital corpsman with CAB's aide station.
Forest Light is a semiannual, bilateral training exercise with the JGSDF. The 12-day exercise is designed to enhance the U.S. and Japanese military partnership and build interaction within U.S. and Japanese forces.