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Exercise Keen Sword '13 begins

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Adam B. Miller | November 15, 2012

Marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members commenced their maritime participation in Exercise Keen Sword 2013 aboard the USS Denver Nov. 8.

Keen Sword, which will run until Nov. 17, is a regularly-scheduled, joint, bilateral exercise between U.S. and Japanese forces at training locations throughout Japan. Marines, sailors and JGSDF members have been participating in Keen Sword for more than two weeks on Okinawa, including base security operations in the Central Training Area at Camp Hansen.

Keen Sword allows the U.S. and Japan to practice coordination procedures and improve interoperability required to effectively defend Japan or respond to crises throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

"The purpose of (Keen Sword) is bilateral integration of both naval and ground assets between the Japan Self-Defense Force and United States forces," said Maj. Jonathan L. Hayes, the company commander for Company E, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which is assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. "This training not only makes us better warfighters, but also helps Japan's forces develop while increasing our interoperability."

During Keen Sword, Company E, along with Marines with Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, will conduct a mock amphibious operation.

"I want to get my Marines back in the water, which is something the Marine Corps should be doing all of the time," Hayes said.

Although the Marine Corps is inherently amphibious, in the past decade, it has not conducted many amphibious operations because of its efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Hayes.

"The relevance of amphibious operations is very important strategically for the U.S. and Japan, especially with the potential for natural disasters and crises in this region," said Hayes. "It is important we conduct this training with Japan, one of our most important allies."

In 1960, the U.S. and Japan signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, forging an alliance built on a shared vision of peace, prosperity, democracy and regional stability. Keen Sword is one example of the U.S. and Japan continuing to strengthen the alliance and meet the treaty's goals.

"This is a great opportunity for us to conduct an exercise with our ally and to learn about their strengths while seeing how we can best support each other in different scenarios," said 1st Lt. David A. Miller Jr., a platoon commander with Company E. "During Keen Sword, the Marines get to interact and train with their brothers-in-arms from Japan, which will strengthen our countries' relationship."

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