Intl. forces gather at Camp Pendleton for 'Dawn Blitz' military exercise

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Thousands of troops are in Southern California taking part in an international exercise known as "Dawn Blitz," with much of it involving amphibious landings.

"That's one very, very big tank, lots of firepower," French-Canadian Sgt. Colin Wiggans said after getting up close to a Marine M1-A1 tank.

The Canadians, as well as army forces from New Zealand, began integrated training with 1st Tank Battalion Marines who came to Camp Pendleton from 29 Palms.

"When you start working around us, be advised, we attract a lot of bullets," said tank commander 1st Lt. Drew Rasmussen in a safety brief to international forces.

The training scenario took place at Camp Pendleton's Combat Town 25, where foreign forces were to secure the makeshift town with backup support from Marine tanks.

"In Afghanistan, we don't always work together, we have our area and they have theirs, but sometimes we have to," Wiggans said.

And that is the whole point of Dawn Blitz, which began May 31 with the arrival of Japanese forces.

"We need to start building those relationships; they know what we have and we know what they have and how to work with one another before there's a crisis," said Rasmussen.

Dawn Blitz concludes with a massive amphibious landing next week.

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