United States Marine Corps and Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces conducted aerial integration training using the Marines’ MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and Japanese CH-47 Chinook helicopters during exercise Forest Light 17-1 in the Soumagahara training area of Gunma prefecture, Japan on March 10, 2017.This portion of the exercise familiarized both nations' forces with each other's aviation platforms, training techniques and execution of various mission sets. As the aircraft hovered above the ground, U.S. and Japanese forces fast roped safely to the ground from each other's platforms.
The bilateral forces also conducted simulated casualty evacuation drills using MV-22B Osprey aircraft. Both drills increased combined readiness to events such as natural disaster or crises where an agile and adaptable force is required.
Approximately 600 U.S. Marines and sailors assigned to III Marine Expeditionary Force deployed via six MV-22B Ospreys from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa to Yokota Air Base, Japan, to execute Forest Light 17-1. The assimilation of Marine infantry units and aircraft from Okinawa with JGSDF units on mainland Japan allows for continuous integration and cooperation of bilateral forces, which reduces the impact of training on Okinawa.
The U.S. forces are partnered with Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces personnel from 30th Infantry Regiment, 12th Brigade, Eastern Army, to defend the peace and security provided by the longstanding U.S.-Japanese Alliance.