This is what a joint US Marine-Japanese training exercise looks like

Military planners spend years putting training exercises together and the political ramifications can be steep, such as with the annual Foal Eagle exercise on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has a history of shelling South Korean islands and firing missiles into the Sea of Japan whenever the U.S. and South Korea come together to train. Calling them “maneuvers” or “war games” is an oversimplification. The long-term consequences could be life or death.

Japanese soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force move the F470 Combat Rubber Raiding Craft off the beach during a beach raid as part of training for Exercise Iron Fist 2016, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 24, 2016. Iron Fist is a five-week-long exercise focusing on advanced marksmanship, amphibious reconnaissance, fire and maneuver assaults, staff planning, logistical support and medical knowledge sharing, fire support operations, including mortars, artillery and close air support, and amphibious landing operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ryan Kierkegaard, 1st Marine Division Combat Camera/Released)

Japanese soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force move the F470 Combat Rubber Raiding Craft off the beach during a beach raid as part of training for Exercise Iron Fist 2016, at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ryan Kierkegaard, 1st Marine Division Combat Camera)

There are times the U.S. will even conduct joint training operations with rivals and allies, such as the annual Cobra Gold exercise in Thailand, where Chinese forces were allowed to join in the humanitarian part.

Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, post a security perimeter and provide suppressive fire during the Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) for Exercise Iron Fist 2016 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 26, 2016. This year’s PHIBLEX was a bilateral, ship-to-shore, amphibious assault, between the U.S. Marine Corps and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, utilizing AAVs to seize objectives via beachhead. The combined amphibious force will then transition to ground operations and move inland to secure additional inland objectives. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Xzavior T. McNeal/Released)

Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, post a security perimeter and provide suppressive fire during the Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) for Exercise Iron Fist 2016 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Xzavior T. McNeal)

2o16 marked the tenth year of Iron Fist, an exercise where soldiers of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force trained with U.S. Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to refine their amphibious landing abilities. The 11th MEU trained with the Japanese for five weeks at Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms, California. Their focus was on small unit combat and amphibious landings.

Western Army Infantry Regiment, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force , soldiers conduct a firing mission during the Supporting Arms Coordinating Center Exercise (SACCEX) for Iron Fist 2016 aboard San Clemente Island, Calif., Feb. 21, 2016. SACCEX serves as a cooperative learning tool for the US-Japan partnership through the operation of a SACC, which has developed the USMC and JGSDF’s ability to integrate naval gunfire, mortars and close-air support as a combined force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Xzavior T. McNeal/Released)

Western Army Infantry Regiment, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, soldiers conduct a firing mission during the Supporting Arms Coordinating Center Exercise (SACCEX) for Iron Fist 2016 aboard San Clemente Island, Calif. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Xzavior T. McNeal)

The above video of the Marine-Japanese training exercise was produced by Gunnery Sgt. Robert Brown of the 11th MEU. It’s a compilation of the kinds of maneuvers our Marines and allied troops make during war games.

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