Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Hyuga (DDH 181) sits along the pier in Guam, Oct. 31. (U.S. Navy/Lt. Tim Gorman)

PACIFIC OCEAN - U.S. forces are set to partner with the Japan Self-Defense Force in amphibious operations off of Guam and Tinian as part of Keen Sword 17, Nov. 1-11.

Keen Sword is a joint and bilateral exercise held between the U.S. military and Japan Self Defense-Forces (JSDF), in an effort to increase operational readiness and interoperability to enhance the Japan-U.S. alliance.

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps units and personnel will combine with Japanese Self Defense Force units to conduct a range of amphibious missions for the first time since the inception of Keen Sword. Accompanying surface ships will conduct live-fire exercises and other maritime missions to simulate protecting the amphibious task force and providing supporting fires to ground forces ashore.

“We’re honored to work together with our Japanese Self-Defense Force counterparts and learn from each other,” said Rear Adm. Marc H. Dalton, commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet. “By improving our bilateral amphibious capability, we increase interoperability and readiness as part of our deep and long-standing military cooperation in support of the U.S.-Japan defense alliance.”

Personnel assigned to Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and 3rd Marine Division have embarked on Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ship JS Hyuga (DDH 181) to assist in integration of U.S. forces into the amphibious task force and overall build on bilateral relationships.

JS Hyuga will be the flagship for a four-ship Japanese amphibious task force, complemented by USS Comstock (LSD 45) and embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines.

A platoon of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment based out of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii and forward-deployed under 3rd Marine Division are embarked on JS Osumi (LST 4001) and integrate with JGSDF forces there to conduct bilateral amphibious operations.

The culminating amphibious landing will include an insertion of ground forces via combat rubber raid craft and a heli-borne assault.

Conducting bilateral amphibious operations in a training environment increases proficiencies in mobilizing people and equipment from a sea base to shore, enhancing bilateral capability to jointly respond within the framework of the U.S.-Japan alliance.

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