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Japan-US response: Exercise tests bilateral capabilities

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Matthew Manning, Marine Corps Bases Japan

KIN BLUE, OKINAWA, Japan -- Civilian and military emergency responders took part in a downed aircraft exercise here April 25.

U.S. service members from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force and emergency responders from the Ishikawa Police Station, Kin and Camp Hansen Fire Department and the Japan Coast Guard all participated in the event.

“The purpose of the exercise is to create a realistic emergency scenario and test our emergency response capabilities,” said Col. David W. DeTata, the Okinawa area field office director, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler. “Exercises like this foster better communication and coordination between Japanese and U.S. responders. We have the opportunity to see how one another operates, while talking-out issues.”

Being prepared to respond rapidly and effectively when the need arises is invaluable, according to DeTata.

“Military and civil authorities need to be prepared to face any emergency that could occur on Okinawa, said DeTata. The aircraft mishap exercise is a one possible scenario that we can train for, drill, and evaluate.”

Although the scenario simulates an aircraft accident, the training is intended to improve bilateral emergency response capabilities for any crisis on Okinawa.

“When an emergency arises on Okinawa, it is not a Japanese problem or a U.S. problem,” said DeTata. “It is our problem, and we must face the situation together. This bilateral training helps hone our skill sets and build our relationships.

“This annual exercise definitely makes the community safer,” he added. “We are able to respond faster and more efficiently due to the training and coordination that was conducted at this event.”

The concern for the communities’ safety is the major driving force to why we conduct this operation in the first place, said DeTata.

“We are thankful to the Okinawan people for their patience, understanding and contribution to the exercise,” said DeTata. “We are committed to training opportunities that help increase our ability to keep the Okinawan community safe.”

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