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3d Marine Division

The Fighting Third

Okinawa, Japan
3d Marine Division conducts battalion force on force event to conclude Fuji Viper 20-2

By Lance Cpl. Ujian Gosun | 3rd Marine Division | January 5, 2020


CAMP FUJI, GOTEMBA, Japan – U.S. Marines and Sailors with 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, currently attached to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, as part of the Unit Deployment Program, conduct a battalion force on force event to conclude Fuji Viper 20-2 on Camp Fuji, Gotemba, Japan, from Dec. 16 - 17, 2019.

Fuji Viper is a regularly scheduled training exercise conducted several times throughout the year by Marines with 3d Marine Division. This iteration of the exercise focused on cold weather and combined arms training. Marines and Sailors trained for nearly two months in a variety of infantry skills and culminated their training with a battalion force on force training event. The event demonstrated the lethality and capabilities of Marines in any environment.

“As with most force on force events, the mantra steel sharpens steel always applies,” said Marine Corps 1st Lt. Justin Rodriguez, a platoon commander and native of Coos Bay, Oregon. “Force on force events allow for units to apply their tactics and training against a live, thinking enemy who is also trying to do the same. It's the best training an infantryman can get. The purpose for the force on force training was to test how we would do against an adversary with superior capabilities.”

In addition to training against a complex and well-equipped enemy, the cold weather environment proved to also be a test of adaptability that Marines had to maneuver against as well. For Marine 2nd Lt. Peter Christenson, a platoon commander and native of Arlington, Virginia, he welcomed the challenge.

“I expected to be challenged by the weather and terrain, and this expectation proved to be appropriate, since the combination of thick and open terrain kept us in a position where we needed to do constant, in-stride reconnaissance in order to move effectively during the course of our time during the force on force,” said Christenson. “My platoon learned how to operate as part of a bigger mission, even when squads moved individually to accomplish their own aspects of the mission. We developed our ability to operate with minimal guidance while integrating with higher command’s intent.”

Battalion force on force training events are invaluable training that 3d Marine Division constantly seeks to build upon to set new standards for future iterations. This evolution was executed by an activated reserve battalion, which will go on to complete several other training exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific.