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U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Kyle B. Ellison, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade gives his commanders intent during a rehearsal of concept drill for Exercise Yama Sakura 79 at Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 5, 2020. Exercise Yama Sakura 79 provides opportunity for U.S. Marines and the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to conduct bilateral training and to share practices, techniques, and experience. The exercise shows the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance, as well as to promote regional security in the Indo-Pacific Region. The U.S. and Japan are committed to executing bilateral exercises like YS 79 while safeguarding the local public and maintaining readiness at all times despite the pandemic. The 3D MEB is a resilient, ready and relevant force in the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Hannah Hall)

Photo by Cpl. Hannah Hall

“Let’s get after it” – Brig. Gen. Ellison to the 3D MEB and ARDB staff of Yama Sakura 79

7 Dec 2020 | 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade

OKINAWA, Japan – Days before III Marine Expeditionary Force’s 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade took part in Yama Sakura 79, U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Kyle B. Ellison and JGSDF Col. Takeshi Higuchi attended a rehearsal of concepts drill on Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan.

A ROC drill is designed to take all key leaders through the scheme of maneuver of the scenario proposed. A ROC drill is a time-tested part of the planning and execution process. During this time, exercise leaders are briefed on the scenario, battlespace, and events to review all actions of friendly forces and prepare the staff to manage the mission.

In this training scenario, Ellison and Higuchi were able to ensure that both sides understood and knew the major sequence of events taking place during Yama Sakura 79.

“Two years ago the ARDB was non-existent,” said Higuchi. “We will learn a lot with the MEB staff.”

The ARDB was formed in 2018 and is the JGSDF’s developing amphibious force. JGSDF Soldiers of the ARDB are ready to work alongside 3D MEB Marines in order to accomplish a successful outcome for this exercise.

“Critical to our success is unity of effort,” said Ellison while giving his commander’s intent portion of the ROC drill. “One team, one fight, and it starts now. We need to be nested in everything we do.”

The 3D MEB and ARDB are ready to work alongside each other and continue to build the trust and friendship which is critical to successful interoperability. Exercises like Yama Sakura provide opportunities for the forces to work bilaterally to help ensure peace and stability are maintained in Japan and the Indo-Pacific Region.

Yama Sakura is an annual command post exercise taking place at locations within Japan and the United States. Beginning in 1982, Yama Sakura has aided in the increased interoperability between U.S. forces and Japan Self Defense Forces. This year, 3D MEB and ARDB play a part in the larger U.S. Army First Corps and JGSDF’s Western Army mainland Japan exercise events.

The U.S. and Japan remain committed to bilateral exercises like Yama Sakura 79 as a part of the U.S.-Japan Alliance. 3D MEB and ARDB remain alert to COVID-19 risks and have implemented measures to ensure the safety of all those involved.

For questions regarding 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade participation in the exercise please call 3D Marine Expeditionary Brigade Communication Strategy at +81-80-8001-5429.

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