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Misawa Airmen Host Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Soldiers during Bilateral Exchange

By Senior Airman Sadie Colbert | 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs | Nov. 16, 2017

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Japan Ground Self-Defense Force service members worked alongside U.S. Air Force Airmen during an exchange program, here, Nov. 14.

The 35th Fighter Wing hosted the JGSDF 1st Sergeant Training Unit out of 1st Camp Higashi-Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan, as a way for the JGSDF’s basic English course students to practice military-specific vocabulary.

Misawa AB hosts the exchange twice a year as part of the JGSDF’s basic English course curriculum and works with the Chitose unit in order to pair soldiers and Airmen with similar jobs.

“It’s good for our members to interact with each other,” said Airman 1st Class Luis Jara, a 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation technician. “This program allowed me to put faces to names while working together.”

The exchange program pairs JGSDF personnel with Airmen from various career fields. During this exchange, the 35th Security Forces Squadron military working dog unit and 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operations hosted the JGSDF personnel, allowing for a well-rounded view of the 35th Fighter Wing’s mission.

“The program was good and also very interesting,” said JGSDF Sergeant Mitsuhiro Kimura, a 1st Training Unit gunner from Camp Higashi-Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan. “It allowed me to use practical English, and I also learned the importance of gesturing to communicate.”

During their full day of relationship-building, Airmen showed their JGSDF counterparts their unique jobs and let them help with their duties, allowing JGSDF men and women the opportunity to use a variety of new English words to increase their communication skills.

“We came here because we want our students to be immersed in an English-speaking military culture and work one-on-one with each other,” said JGSDF 1st Lt. Chika Mitsuo, a 1st Training Unit English instructor. “It’s very important to establish these friendships early on, and this program is a great way for them to connect with others on their level.”
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