USAF, JSDF work together
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Nine U.S. Air Force non-commissioned officers attended a U.S. Forces Japan and Japan Air Self-defense Force bilateral exchange at Gifu Air Base, Japan, May 17-26, 2016.
Kadena's Bilateral Exchange Program is a part of the USFJ exchange initiative fostering relationships between Japanese and U.S. military forces. The exchange was hosted by the JASDF Air Development and Test Command at Gifu AB.
“The purpose of the exchange was to foster interoperability between JASDF and U.S. military personnel,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Brumfield, 18th Equipment Maintenance Squadron NCO in charge of fighter AGE maintenance. “It gave U.S. Air Force and JASDF members the opportunity to gain perspective and build a strong personal and professional relationship.”
The nine select NCOs were provided with hands-on experience working in their related fields promoting cohesion between the USAF and JASDF as well as providing a mutual respect for both cultures.
“Throughout the 10-day event our JASDF sponsors integrated many cultural activities helping us break social barriers and build positive relationships ultimately leading to lasting friendships,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Meng, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels service center supervisor. “We played basketball, volleyball, created calligraphy and ceramics, hiked the famous Mt. Gifu, attended many dinners and barbeques, operated their flight simulator, and were treated to a bevy of demonstrations on the flight line and other places.”
The 10-day schedule was packed full of activities ingraining a culture of trust and respect between the USAF and JASDF, as well as warfighting integration, and being ready to facilitate deterrence and assist each other in the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
“I think this is a wonderful program and helps people gain a newfound respect for our host nation,” said Tech. Sgt. Derek Madlener, 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airframe Powerplant General section chief. “We learned how to communicate and work with each other in a way that would never have happened if not for this program.”
The bilateral exchange program is a 5th Air Force initiative established to bolster cultural awareness between the USAF and JASDF with the goal of learning each others' customs and way of life.
Were the NCO’s to have had a normal work week, they would not have been able to gain the great satisfaction of bolstering ties between our two countries, said Brumfield.
“In my 12 year career I have been to countless places around the world, but nothing has come close to the satisfaction I have gained from this trip,” he continued. “This program has strengthened the international relationship between the U.S. and JASDF. Hopefully, it has had a significant positive impact on how we, as ambassadors, are viewed to the Japanese community.”