Military personnel from the US and Japan have commenced the first iteration of the Northern Viper exercise at Misawa Air Base in Japan and the nearby island of Hokkaido.
The joint contingency exercise will witness participation from more than 1,500 Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and 2,000 US Marines troops.
Set to conclude on 28 August, the exercise is expected to improve interoperability between the Marines and JSDF to keep the forces formidable and adaptive, the US Department of Defense stated.
As part of the exercise, troops will address challenges across a variety of areas, including peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to support the security of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Marine Aircraft Group 36 commanding officer Marine Corps colonel James F. Harp said: “We have marines with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, marines with 3rd Marine Division and the JSDF all currently together to train here.”
The US marines with Marine Aircraft Group 36 will provide direct aerial support to personnel of 3rd Marine Division and JSDF with a variety of aircraft.
The exercise will also involve training operations, such as assault support missions, simulated offensive air support and simulated casualty evacuations in Hokkaido by squadrons attached to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
The 3rd Marine Division will serve as a bilateral partner with JSDF’s Northern Army 11th Brigade on Hokkaido.
Image: US marines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force troops learn tactical combat casualty care during Northern Viper 2017 in Chitose, Japan. Photo: courtesy of Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ally Beiswanger.