U.S. Marines Conduct Rapid-Deployment Humanitarian Assistance Drills In Japan

The Marines of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade recently conducted rapid deployment drills in Japan, the U.S. Marine Corps announced on Thursday.

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According to a press release by the service, the drill was conducted to ensure that the ACM (Air Contingency Marine) remains postured and ready to deploy in response to crisis throughout the Indo-Pacific, in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The marines executed the drill with support from two MV-22 Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, operating from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Japan.

Simulating real-world rapid deployment, about 30 Marines of the 3rd MEB established a secure communications link with the III Marine Expeditionary Force Command Centre, after being deployed on the Kadena Air Base from their home stations across Okinawa via Ospreys in less than 12 hours.

“Drills such as these ensure that 3rd MEB remains prepared to respond to a crisis on short notice,” said Col. Michael Wylie, 3rd MEB chief of staff. “Whether we are asked to deploy to assist our partners and allies as a part of a foreign humanitarian assistance operation or in response to a contingency that is kinetic in nature, we need to be ready.”

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Maj. Chad Pimley, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade’s current operations officer stated, “The purpose of this ACM drill is to validate standard operating procedures and ensure the MEB is prepared to execute its duties and responsibilities.”

The Air Contingency Marine task force, when activated, assumes the responsibility for an immediate response towards any danger under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s AOR that might require military action, ranging from humanitarian disaster relief to armed conflict.

Joint Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (JHAST) is the expeditionary command team under the U.S. Military which is in charge of responding to requests of humanitarian assistance. It is 24/7 ready and can be deployed in under 12 hours in order to establish an initial assessment of required support for follow-on assistance.

The report also stated that the drills were carried out with all safety protocols and precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection to the troops.

Being one of the most disaster-prone areas globally, the INDOPACOM (Indo-Pacific Command)’s AOR has witnessed 60% of the world’s all disasters occurred, and in recent years has responded to the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, the 2013 typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, and the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes.

Maj. Pimley further says that “The MEB continues to conduct essential, realistic training while adhering to strict safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are prepared to deploy in support of our allies and partners throughout the region. Disasters do not stop just because the world is facing a serious pandemic.”