In early March, US Marine Corps and Japanese Ground Self Defence Force troops, participating in Exercise “Forest Light 17-1” at the Soumaghara Training Area in Japan, conducted aerial integration training using USMC MV-22B OSPREY tilt-rotor aircraft and Japanese CH-47 CHINOOK helicopters.
Rehearsing ingress and egress from each others’ aircraft, including fast roping techniques, troops also conducted simulated casualty evacuation drills using the OSPREYs. Drills such as these help significantly in increasing combined readiness for events such as natural disasters and other operational scenarios in which an agile, adaptable force is required.
Approximately 600 US Marines and sailors assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force deployed via six OSPREYs from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa to Yokota Air Base, Japan, to execute “Forest Light 17-1.” They partnered with Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces personnel from 30th Infantry Regiment, 12th Brigade, Eastern Army.
“Forest Light” is a semi-annual exercise to strengthen interoperability and combined capability.