In cultural shift, Okinawa Marines take island during drills and turn outward to support Navy - Paci

Maintainers from the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit and an operator from the 29th Attack Squadron work to recover a MQ-9 Reaper during Exercise Agile Reaper at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, Calif., Sept. 12, 2020.<br

IE SHIMA, Okinawa Sgt. Cal Cushing-Hurley and his squad from the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, could hardly contain their enthusiasm for their first Pacific exercise a simulated airfield seizure on a tiny island off Okinawas northwest coast.

They were among the first wave of about 100 Marines to land at the airfield aboard MV-22 Ospreys on Wednesday during drills dubbed Noble Fury.

Im excited to put all of our practice into action, Cushing-Hurley, 24, of Marshfield, Mass., said before the mission. Its always good to get live reps in and reinforce everything youve trained for.

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Noble Fury is a first-time joint training exercise between Marines and sailors of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and the Navys 7th Fleet, according to a Tuesday statement from III MEF. It is designed to improve III MEF and 7th Fleets working relationship through simultaneous, distributed events.

Primary activities include a command post exercise and field training drills like Wednesdays airfield seizure. The exercise takes place on Okinawa and other Japanese islands, including Iwo Jima, known in Japan as Iwo To, the statement said. It concludes Oct. 15.

During the airfield seizure, Marines wore masks as a precaution against the coronavirus but were unable to maintain a minimum distance of six feet. They took off their masks once they hit the island.

First Battalion, which deployed to Okinawa in August, came to rehearse its ability to take and hold key....

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