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21st SOS supports U.S. Marines and JGSDF in massive Resolute Dragon exercise

U.S. and Japanese soldiers carry a patient filled stretcher away from a landed helicopter.

U.S. Marine Capt. Mariel Gulyes, left, 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, and soldiers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, 5th Infantry Regiment, perform medical evacuation drills with a CV-22B Osprey from the 21st Special Operations Squadron, during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. U.S. and allied partner forces train like they fight, working together to promote all aspects of battlefield readiness. The MV-22 and the CV-22B Osprey are important assets in rapid air-to-ground operations for joint and allied forces in many environments, allowing rapid combat power projection and defense over vast distances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A female pilot translates helicopter safety directions with gestures to Japanese soldiers.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Laura Fowler, center, 21st Special Operations Squadron pilot, directs soldiers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, 5th Infantry Regiment, on how to egress from a CV-22B Osprey while practicing medical evacuation drills during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. Allied partners training together is essential to the coordination of forces between countries, helping to ensure the continuation of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Regular combined training opportunities incorporating the Japan Self Defense Forces, the U.S. Marines, and the U.S. Air Force, has proven to be effective in increasing the mutual understanding of military tactics, techniques, and procedures that help ensure both forces can fight successfully as a cohesive unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

U.S. and Japanese soldiers form a parameter around a landed helicopter.

U.S. Marines, 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, practice securing an aircraft perimeter alongside soldiers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, 5th Infantry Regiment, during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. U.S. and Japanese forces have worked together for more than 60 years; training together to increase operational cohesion and readiness in the pursuit of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Allied partners derive value from each opportunity to learn from one another while maintaining the readiness, proficiency, and lethality of our armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

Several soldiers crowd into a helicopter

U.S. Marines, 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, and soldiers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, 5th Infantry Regiment, practice medical evacuation drills on a U.S. Air Force CV-22B Osprey during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. RD21 is the largest bilateral field training exercise between Japan Self Defense Forces, U.S. Marines, and the U.S. Air Force. The U.S. and Japanese forces have a long history of training together, and exercises provide opportunities to learn from one another while maintaining the readiness, proficiency, and lethality of allied armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A female pilot translates helicopter safety directions with gestures to Japanese soldiers.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Laura Fowler, center, 21st Special Operations Squadron pilot, directs soldiers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, 5th Infantry Regiment, on how to egress from a CV-22B Osprey while practicing medical evacuation drills during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. Allied partners training together is essential to the coordination of forces between countries, helping to ensure the continuation of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Regular combined training opportunities incorporating the Japan Self Defense Forces, the U.S. Marines, and the U.S. Air Force, has proven to be effective in increasing the mutual understanding of military tactics, techniques, and procedures that help ensure both forces can fight successfully as a cohesive unit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A Marine leans out the door of a hovering aircraft as it comes in for a landing.

A U.S. Marine MV-22B flight engineer, from the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (VMM-262), checks ground clearance while bringing a MV-22 Osprey in for a landing during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. U.S. Marines operate in air-to-ground task forces, enabling tactical and operational maneuvers that include rapid infiltration and exfiltration in support of Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations. Allied integration is critical, but can be complex and requires regular, intensive training to maintain requisite skills to maintain mission readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A Japanese Captain and a U.S. aviator watch soldiers perform medical evac drills.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mychal Ford (right), 21st Special Operations Squadron special missions aviator, observes CV-22B Osprey medical evacuation training alongside a captain from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, 5th Infantry Regiment, during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. U.S. and Japanese forces have worked together for more than 60 years; training together to increase operational cohesion and readiness in the pursuit of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Allied partners derive value from each opportunity to learn from one another while maintaining the readiness, proficiency, and lethality of our armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A hovering Osprey aircraft skims the trees bordering a clearing as it comes in for a landing.

A CV-22B Osprey from the 21st Special Operations Squadron flies low over the trees as it prepares to land during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. The 21st SOS is specialized in the use of the CV-22B Osprey in conducting long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces. The CV-22B is equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, infrared sensors and other advanced avionics that make it a formidable power projection tool in adverse conditions and contested environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

Five U.S. Marines huddle together against the wind generated by a helicopter taking off.

U.S. Marines, 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, brace against the downwash from the props of a CV-22B Osprey from the 21st Special Operations Squadron, during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. U.S. Marines operate in air-to-ground task forces, enabling tactical and operational maneuvers that include rapid infiltration and exfiltration in support of Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations. Allied integration is critical, but can be complex and requires regular, intensive training to maintain requisite skills to maintain mission readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A large group of mixed U.S. and Japanese soldiers stand in a muddy field.
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U.S. Marines participate in a pre-training safety briefing with soldiers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, 5th Infantry Regiment, during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. U.S. and Japanese forces have worked together for more than 60 years; training together to increase operational cohesion and readiness in the pursuit of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Allied partners derive value from each opportunity to learn from one another while maintaining the readiness, proficiency, and lethality of our armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A helicopter flight engineer sits on the edge of an open hatch of an airborne helicopter.
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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mychal Ford, 21st Special Operations Squadron special missions aviator, sits in the rear of a CV-22B Osprey as it departs to support exercise Resolute Dragon 21, over Yokota Air Base, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. The 21st SOS is specialized in the use of the CV-22B Osprey in conducting long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces. The CV-22B is equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, infrared sensors and other advanced avionics that make it a formidable power projection tool in adverse conditions and contested environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

U.S. Marines and Japanese soldiers carry a soldier on a stretcher into a helicopter.
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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mychal Ford, 21st Special Operations Squadron special missions aviator, sits in the rear of a CV-22B Osprey as it departs to support exercise Resolute Dragon 21, over Yokota Air Base, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. The 21st SOS is specialized in the use of the CV-22B Osprey in conducting long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces. The CV-22B is equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, infrared sensors and other advanced avionics that make it a formidable power projection tool in adverse conditions and contested environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

Four helicopters in a row taking off.
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A CV-22B Osprey from the 21st Special Operations Squadron (left), alongside two MV-22B Ospreys from the Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262, and a CH-53E Super Stallion, from Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, take turns practicing take-offs and landings during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. The MV-22, the CV-22B Osprey, and the CH-53E Super Stallion are important assets in rapid air-to-ground operations for joint and allied forces in many environments, allowing rapid combat power projection over vast distances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A large group photo of U.S. marines and Japanese soldiers.
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U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 21st Special Operations Squadron, U.S. Marines from 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, and soldiers from the Japan Ground Self Defense Force, 5th Infantry Regiment, pose for a group photo during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. U.S. and Japanese forces have worked together for more than 60 years; training together to increase operational cohesion and readiness in the pursuit of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Allied partners derive value from each opportunity to learn from one another while maintaining the readiness, proficiency, and lethality of our armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A Marine high-fives a helicopter flight enigineer.
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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mychal Ford, left, 21st Special Operations Squadron special missions aviator, high-fives a U.S. Marine from the 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. U.S. and Japanese forces have worked together for more than 60 years; training together to increase operational cohesion and readiness in the pursuit of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Allied partners derive value from each opportunity to learn from one another while maintaining the readiness, proficiency, and lethality of our armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A Marine helicopter comes in for a landing on a grassy field.
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An MV-22B Osprey from the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (VMM-262) lands while U.S. Marines, 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, and soldiers from the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force, 5th Infantry Regiment, prepare for air-to-ground maneuvers during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. The MV-22 and CV-22B Osprey are important assets in rapid air-to-ground operations for joint and allied forces in many environments, allowing rapid combat power projection and defense over vast distances. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

Four marines carry a fifth on a stretcher into a helicopter.
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U.S. Air Force Capt. Quinn Lake, right, 21st Special Operations Squadron pilot, escorts U.S. Marines, 4th Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, onto a CV-22B Osprey while practicing medical evacuation drills during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. U.S. Marines operate in air-to-ground task forces, enabling tactical and operational maneuvers that include rapid infiltration and exfiltration in support of Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations. Allied integration is critical, but can be complex and requires regular, intensive training to maintain requisite skills to maintain mission readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

A view of Mt. Fuji from 5000 feet high.
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CV-22B Osprey pilots from the 21st Special Operations Squadron, catch a glimpse of Mt. Fuji while returning from air-to-ground support operations during exercise Resolute Dragon 21 near Camp Fuji, Japan, Dec. 9, 2021. The 21st SOS is specialized in the use of the CV-22B Osprey in conducting long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces. The CV-22B is equipped with integrated threat countermeasures, terrain-following radar, infrared sensors and other advanced avionics that make it a formidable power projection tool in adverse conditions and contested environments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff. Sgt. Ryan Lackey)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan --

Airmen and CV-22B Ospreys from the 21st Special Operations Squadron supported air-to-ground operations with U.S. Marine contingents and soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during Resolute Dragon 2021, the largest bilateral training exercise of the year, in Japan, from Dec. 1 to 16.

Resolute Dragon is designed to strengthen the defensive capabilities of the U.S.-Japan alliance by refining procedures for bilateral command, control, and coordination in a geographically distributed environment.

“Combat flexibility is critical in modern contested environments, so working with U.S. Marines and JGSDF soldiers in this exercise was a boon in sharing our specialized capabilities for rapid air-to-ground movements,” said Maj. Andrew Whitmey, 21st SOS assistant operations officer and CV-22B pilot. “Everyone worked through the language and military culture differences quickly and effectively, allowing us to train in rapid infiltration and exfiltration of personnel, gear and supplies.”

The CV-22B allows allied forces to accomplish the functions of a helicopter, but now at much longer ranges. It uniquely has the vertical lift of a helicopter and the speed and range of a turboprop aircraft, which provides superior advantages in the Indo-Pacific region that’s dotted with islands and mountainous terrain adverse to traditional airframes.

“We strive to minimize any disturbance to our civilian neighbors when planning missions,” Whitmey said. “However, it’s necessary to regularly train our Airmen with the CV-22B to remain ready to defend the safety and security of our allied Japanese partners. We’re proud to have been able to work side by side with JGSDF during Resolute Dragon, as it was the first time the 21st SOS supported Japanese soldiers, and we look forward to future opportunities to train together.”

Bilateral training exercises like Resolute Dragon, conducted between the Japan Self-Defense Force, and combined U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, Army, and Air Force, demonstrated both countries’ dedication to defending peace and security in the Indo-Pacific. Resolute Dragon is the latest example of this ongoing commitment and resulting increases in bilateral capabilities, integration, lethality, and readiness.

“Resolute Dragon 21 is an example of the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance, which has served as the foundation of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific for more than 60 years,” said Maj. Gen. Jay Bargeron, Commanding General, 3d Marine Division. “We will operate across all domains with our Japanese allies and joint partners to maximize our ability to deter and defeat any potential threat. We are committed to remaining postured and ready to fight and win if called upon.”

More than 2,600 Marines from across the Indo-Pacific theater and approximately 1,400 of their counterparts from the 9th Division, North Eastern Army, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force were involved alongside U.S. Navy, Army and Air Force supporting units.

The alliance between the U.S. and Japan makes both stronger. Allied partners practice how they fight by conducting realistic training to build readiness in collective defense support of Japan. Resolute Dragon is a powerful example of the collaborative efforts between the JSDF and U.S. to increase mutual understanding of military tactics, techniques, and procedures … allowing bilateral forces to fight as a cohesive unit when called upon.