Editor’s Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading information source for the Military and Veteran community.

The Marines in Japan got a glimpse of what the Corps’ future missions might look like during a recent island-hopping naval exercise in the East China Sea.

After a small team of Reconnaissance Marines landed on an island during the first-of-its-kind Noble Fury exercise, a larger force stormed into the MV-22 Ospreys and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters. The growls “quickly took control of the island, establishing defensive positions,” according to a press release on the exercise.

The Marines then coordinated with the Sailors of the Seventh Fleet, who had identified a target they could not engage. After relaying information to the Marines on land, an Air Force MC-130J Super Hercules landed on an expeditionary airfield in the middle of the night with a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

“The HIMARS team fired a theoretical shot, destroying the target, and quickly reloaded into the MC-130J, taking off a few minutes after landing on the island,” the statement said. The Marines were then loaded into CH-53E Super Stallions, he adds, and “were on the move again to prepare for follow-up missions.”

In a call with reporters at the end of the exercise, Colonel Robert Brodie, operations officer of the III Marine Expeditionary Force, called Noble Fury a “very successful operation”.

“It is the ability of the III MEF to establish expeditionary fire and forward arming and supply points in the Indo-Pacific at any time, any place of our call,” said Brodie.

The exercise follows a call from Commander General David Berger to make the III MEF a “credible deterrent against adversary aggression in the Pacific”. The Marine Corps is undergoing a series of force-wide changes as it refocuses on naval missions amid mounting tensions with China.

This includes the folding of heavy tank units as the leather collars rotate to missions in which small teams travel light and don’t stay in one place for long. The service recently re-established a Landing Support Battalion that can provide supplies to these types of shore-based reinforcement forces.

Noble Fury, said Brodie, gave III MEF and the Seventh Fleet the chance to work together in concurrent and distributed training events across Japan and at sea. During the exercise, the Marines and the sailors were spread over two Japanese islands – Ie Shima and Iwo To – while others were in Okinawa or aboard the amphibious assault ship America.

“It … showcases the ability of the III MEF to command and control several forward expeditionary bases, [and] advanced armament and supply points throughout the Indo-Pacific theater, ”said Brodie, adding that this was the first time“ that we could exercise and achieve it ”.

As the Marine Corps says, “The future of naval service was on Noble Fury.”

“This future envisions a light and agile Marine Corps force to conduct raids and quickly capture the Indo-Pacific islands to help establish forward expeditionary bases,” a press release read.

This article originally appeared on Military.com

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