The annual French-led training exercise held on Tinian ends today is designed to strengthen the response capabilities of a multinational force in the region.
Close to 1,000 troops from France, the United States, Japan, and Great Britain participated in the weeklong exercise, dubbed Jeanne D’ Arc, held in the waters around Tinian and Guam.
A total of 800 French sailors, 25 French troops, 25 Japanese soldiers, 100 U.S. Marines, and some British Royal Marines were involved in the exercise. The French sailors stayed in the ship while their ground forces were deployed and transported by the amphibious assault ship Mistral.
Several AW101 British Merlin helicopters and French landing craft were used to bring the participants inland.
U.S. Marine Corps Activity Guam public affairs officer Maj. Tim Patrick said the French-led activity’s purpose is to exercise freedom of navigation through the South China Sea.
Tensions remain high in the disputed region, where China built military structures in several small islands. International news agencies reported yesterday that China has already installed rocket launchers in some of their maritime outposts.
The exercise also aims to develop and practice amphibious assault capability using a multi-national force.
Patrick said building relations between multinational forces is another purpose of the exercise. “The purpose of this exercise is to build on relations and mutual coordination measures between our multinational forces.”
“The training over the last few days focused on command and control, amphibious and helicopter assault operations, as well as integration between ground and naval forces,” said Patrick.
He added that the exercise is also intended for the U.S. military to quickly respond to emergencies. “Expeditionary forces such as these are a growing part of the U.S. ability to swiftly and effectively respond to crises, from humanitarian assistance to full-scale combat.”
He said the exercise is held annually but U.S. troops are not always involved. “This exercise also represents only a fraction of the multinational exercises and operations that take place in the Pacific region.”
“Following this exercise, the forces will re-embark the French ship Mistral and sail back to Guam before finally transiting back to Japan to disembark the U.S. and Japanese forces.”
Patrick said all participants had a memorable experience on their stay on Tinian. “Everyone has been very accommodating and I always feel welcome here. It makes the job a pleasure because training our forces is vital. It keeps the edge sharp and it saves Marines’ lives.”
He said the exercise also enhances the multinational forces’ capabilities in amphibious activities. The 3rd Battalion and 8th Marine Regiment composed the U.S. ground combat troops.
“This exercise gave an opportunity for those participating to train together and work with partner nations while sharing tactics, strengthening coordination and communication and increasing interoperability.”
“Jeanne D’ Arc enhances our multinational amphibious capability at the tactical level to keep our forces adaptive and lethal,” said Patrick.