Kadena Airmen tour Naha AB, build bilateral relations
NAHA AIR BASE, Japan -- Approximately 40 Airmen from Kadena Air Base interacted with their Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts during an extensive tour of Naha Air Base Nov. 20, as part of a new wing exchange program.
The tour entailed an overall mission briefing at the wing headquarters building, visits to various historical sites, aircraft maintenance, rescue squadrons and more.
"This is the beginning of a growing program," said JASDF Lt. Col. Yutaka Hori, 83rd Wing Headquarters director of administration. "We first visited Kadena in July and in return, we decided to do the same and host U.S. forces for a visit. This program is good for mission understanding and also for us to increase knowledge of each other's specialties."
While it's common for aircrew and other mission planning agencies from both Air Forces to work alongside each other for missions and other exercises, the exchange enabled Airmen from other career fields to meet and network with their allied colleagues.
"It was valuable to see how our partner groups and units operate," said U.S. Air Force Capt. Kevin McGuiness, 82nd Reconnaissance Squadron maintenance operations officer. "I think a benefit of being out where we're at right now is our ability to easily interact with our counterparts. It makes both sides stronger and I think that's a good thing."
After receiving a close-up look at some of the base's key assets, such as the F-15 Eagle, UH-60J Black Hawk and E-2C Hawkeye, the visitors were treated to a barbeque luncheon to socialize and celebrate their partnership.
"With an alliance at a national level, unit level and personal level, together we can provide the best security here, in this region and the nation of Japan," said Hori.