EXERCISE IRON FIST 2013 – Camp Pendleton

70 years ago, two military forces were facing each other during the Guadalcanal Campaign, also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal and code named Operation Watchtower by Allied forces. On one side was the United States Marines and the other, the Imperial Japanese Army. It was a bloody and bitter military campaign fought between August 7, 1942 and February 9, 1943 on and around the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific Theater of World War II. It was the first major offensive by Allied forces against the Empire of Japan.

Time has the power to heal old wounds and prejudices, and now these same military forces and Countries are strong allies and train together to provide security across the western Pacific. this years Exercise Iron Fist, is the eight joint training exercise between the United States Marines/Navy and the Japanese Self Defense Forces. Going for approximately two weeks, it includes a live fire exercise, held at 29 Palms in the southern California desert, an amphibious landing and air assault, and then training runs through “Combat Town”. this years participants included the 13th MEU, the USS Boxer and the USS Pearl Harbor and the Japanese Western Army Infantry Regiment.

The Japanese government is facing increasing pressure from outside forces such as North Korea’s nuclear weapon ambitions and Communist China expansionism into the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Therefore they are modernizing their self-defense forces and upgrading their various Naval and Air forces. By training with United States military units, the lines of communication, cooperation and familiarity will be more fluid in case of any military conflicts in the future.

Douglas Aguillard

Douglas (Doug) Aguillard is a Freelance Photojournalist who specializes in the Military & Aviation fields. Based in San Diego, CA, he is a Marine veteran., He currently is a photojournalist for the Military Press Newspaper, the Historical / Archival Dept. photographer for the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum at MCAS Miramar, and a very proud member of Photo Recon, and has been published in various magazines and books such as "Combat Aircraft Monthly" magazine, "Vertical " magazine, "Wings of Gold" magazine, Sikorsky Frontlines newsletter, and the San Diego Air & Space Museum's Book: "Celebrating the San Diego Air & Space Museum: A History of the Museum and it's collections".

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