Officials: Exercise Jeanne D’Arc tests how allies can work together in the Indo-Pacific

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San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD-18), joined by the Anzac-class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy HMAS Parramatta (FFH-154), the amphibious assault helicopter carrier of the French Navy FS Tonnerre (L9014) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force JS Ōsumi-class tank landing ship Ōsumi, transit together during Exercise Jeanne D’Arc 21 (ARC-21), off Kagoshima, Japan, on May 14, 2021. US Marine Corps.

KUALA LUMPUR – Joint allied exercises in Japan between the U.S., Japanese, French and Australian navies have helped countries better understand how they can operate together in the Indo-Pacific, with two U.S. officials leading the exercise.

Speaking on a conference call Monday, Captain Brian Schrum, commander of the USS New Orleans (LPD-18), and Lt. Col. Jeremy Nelson, who commands Marine Force Contingent Jeanne D’Arc 21 and the 3rd Landing Support Battalion, both said the joint exercise allowed personnel of participating countries to improve their ability to work together in the Indo-Pacific.

“All the lessons and practices that we are sharing with the Japanese, Australian and French allies during Arc 21 only make us better able to meet the current needs of the Indo-Pacific, whether it is to respond to the vagaries of region or to be called in for humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, ”said Schrum.

Understanding the capabilities and limitations of partner countries and communicating well with each other throughout any execution is essential for interoperability, the two officers told reporters. Nelson said it was equally important to understand each other’s staff planning processes and the staff countries bring to planning sessions. He also said that individuals with similar abilities from different partner countries should work together to form a common understanding when planning an exercise.

“Understanding what each one brings to the fight and being able to communicate and understand each other is most important,” said Nelson.

For Exercise Arc 21, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force deployed the JS helicopter destroyer Ise (DDH-182); JS destroyers Ashigara (DDG-178), JS Asahi (DD-119) and JS Kongo (DDG-173); amphibious transport pontoon ship JS Osumi (LST-4001); JS missile boats Otaka (PG-826) and JS Shirataka (PG-829); and an unnamed submarine. The personnel of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force included troops from the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, in addition to the CH-47 and AH-64 helicopters. The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force also deployed F-2 fighters for the exercise.

U.S. forces included the amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD-18), P-8A Poseidon and MV-22 Ospreys maritime patrol aircraft, while the US land elements consisted of elements of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, including members of the Air Naval Gunfire Liason Company , a reconnaissance team, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD Specialists), a communication detachment and a logistics command element. The Royal Australian Navy has deployed the frigate HMAS Parramatta (FFH-154), while France deployed the FS landing helicopter dock Thunder (L9014) and FS frigate Surcouf (F711), which forms the formation and the French operational mission Jeanne D’Arc in the Indo-Pacific region. The embarked troops of Thunder who participated include a landing force from the army of the 13th demi-brigade of the Foreign Legion and an engineer detachment from the 1st engineer regiment of the Foreign Legion (combat engineers).

Marines with III Marine Expeditionary Force, and Japanese soldiers with the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, Japan Self Defense Force, exit a JSDF CH-47 Chinook helicopter before conducting a multilateral assault during exercise Jeanne D’Arc 21 at Kirishima Maneuver Area, Japan May 15, 2021. Photo by US Marine Corps

Although Exercise ARC 21 coincided in bad weather, the majority of events went as planned, with a few exceptions. Nelson said the exercise planned to rehearse receiving fuel from a helicopter for a ground refueling system for storage and then quickly moving that fuel to another aircraft when needed. Due to weather conditions and security concerns, US and Japanese forces did not refuel, but ground personnel trained each other on the equipment and followed the process in a daytime scenario. and at night.

Officials also said the RCAF exercise, which began last week and ended on Sunday, provided a solid experience of engagement and interoperability for enlisted personnel and participating junior officers. Schrum said a number of activities at sea, including domain knowledge and advanced maneuver training, were carried out despite the weather conditions. He described bringing a JMSDF LCAC in and out of the well bridge at New Orleans several times as one of the more interesting activities, adding that the experience was good for the well deck crew and other ship personnel involved in the activity.

“It’s also important for our junior junior officers and on-ship observers as they get the most out of understanding what it’s like to work with partners and allies in the region,” said Schrum.

Nelson said the same was true for the U.S. Marines involved in the exercise, as they established standard operating procedures for patrol and urban combat tactics and became familiar with the equipment and systems of weapons used by their partners.

“We worked through the bad weather, we worked on common COVID mitigation measures, we crossed the language barrier and we are still able to plan and execute a safe exercise that everyone has. mutually benefited, ”he said.



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