ASIA-PACIFIC: Japanese Join U.S. Amphibious Exercise [UPDATED]

June 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Dawn Blitz 2013

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are conducting a large amphibious exercise off the Southern California coast called Dawn Blitz 2013. But this year’s exercise, which runs from June 11-28, is  a little different from previous ones. It has morphed into a multi-national exercise with troops from New Zealand and Canada and — for the first time — the Japanese Self Defense Forces participating.

In fact about 1,000 Japanese sailors and soldiers are taking part in the exercise as well as . New Zealand and Canada which have have sent company-sized contingents of between 150 and 200 troops. There are also small detachments serving as observers from Australia,  Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

An Amphibious Assault Vehicle exits the surf during an Exercise Dawn Blitz live Maritime Prepositioning Force training event. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse L. Gonzalez)

An Amphibious Assault Vehicle exits the surf during an Exercise Dawn Blitz live Maritime Prepositioning Force training event. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse L. Gonzalez)

The participation of so many Latin American countries indicates that the shift — or pivot — in U.S. strategy to the Pacific takes in more than just the Far East. “When we talk pivot, it’s much more than Asia,” says Brig. Gen. John Broadmeadow, commanding general of both the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and the 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

The American contingent in the massive exercise is about 4,000 sailors and Marines, Broadmeadow told a defense bloggers roundtable today (June 13)

Dawn Blitz is a multilateral amphibious exercise designed to strengthen international partnerships by improving the ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners.

But both Broadmeadow and Brig. Gen. Richard Simcock II — who spoke to the blogger’s  group Tuesday (June 11) took pains to say the exercise had no political ramifications despite news reports in Asia that it was meant to send a message to China which is in a escalating dispute with Japan over possession of a group of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea.

Although amphibious operations on San Clemente Island are scheduled for June 17, the exercise “has nothing to do with retaking an island,” said Broadmeadow.

In addition to troops from Japan’s Western Army Infantry Regiment as well as helicopters and other units from the Western Army Aviation Group and Japanese Air Defense Command, the Japanese contingent included three ships from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force which sailed across the Pacific from Japan to California with a stop in Hawaii.

U.S. Navy vessels from the Expeditionary Strike Group 3, including the USS Boxer, USS Peleliu, USS New Orleans and USS Harpers Ferry — all amphibious assault or transport ships –and the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens, are taking part in the Exercise.

Another first for the exercise was expected Friday (June 14) when a Marine Corps MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft lands aboard one of the Japanese ships, the Hyuga [see photo below], for the first time. Broadmeadow said it wasn’t the first time an MV-22 had landed on the deck of a foreign Navy vessel — just the first time for a Japanese ship..

Japanese Helicopter Destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181) moored  at Naval Base San Diego. Hyuga is one of three Japanese Mariitime Self efense Force ships participating in exercise Dawn Blitz.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist Molly Evans) Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/image/952398/dawn-blitz#.UbqWDBU25KA#ixzz2W9ytirBM

Japanese Helicopter Destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181) moored at Naval Base San Diego. Hyuga is one of three Japanese Mariitime Self efense Force ships participating in exercise Dawn Blitz. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist Molly Evans)

Broadmeadow also said members of MARSOC, the Marine Corps special operations unit, would take part in the exercise.

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Entry filed under: Asia-Pacific, Latin America, National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, Skills and Training, Technology, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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