NEWS | Dec. 29, 2017

Pacific Command Senior Enlisted Leader Visits Misawa, Emphasizes Warfighter Mindset

By Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Anthony Spadaro, U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) senior enlisted leader (SEL), made his first visit to Misawa Air Base, Japan, Dec. 20 and 21.

To kick off his two-day visit, Spadaro experienced an interactive mission brief from 35th Fighter Wing, U.S. Army Joint Tactical Ground Station and Japan Air Self-Defense Force service members. The event familiarized him with Team Misawa's role in deterring aggression in the Indo-Pacific region as the only bilateral, joint and civilian service air base.

“Misawa is the tip of the spear in our theater; it is the most strategically-located base in Japan,” Spadaro said.

He added that his primary focus during his time at Misawa was to emphasize the importance of training and maintaining the highest level of readiness to every enlisted member on the base.

"The Indo-Pacific region is increasingly dynamic, and, as you know, there are evolving threats around us each and every day," Spadaro said. "I want our troops to be a lethal and intimidating joint force in all aspects."

During separate panel meetings with junior and senior noncommissioned officers, Spadaro reminded Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers of their critical importance in defending the area.

"Without enlisted leadership, we will never be able to fight and win our nation's wars," he said. "You are the backbone of PACOM's operations. Keep training, keep learning."

The PACOM SEL's visit also served as an opportunity to meet with Japan Air Self-Defense Force 3rd Air Wing leadership and engage with junior enlisted members, reaffirming that the alliance between the two countries is stronger than ever.

"While we're developing our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines in this region to the best of our ability, it's just as important to ensure we're developing our relationships with our neighbors," said Spadaro. "The partnership we share with Japan and other nations in the Indo-Pacific region is the strongest weapon we have in combatting instability, and we have to be just as serious about strengthening those bonds as we are in strengthening our internal warfighting skills."

To better asses the wing's readiness and willingness to respond to any threat that might come to the region, Spadaro watched the 35th Security Forces Squadron execute a training exercise. The 35th Maintenance Group Aerospace Propulsion Flight then demonstrated the hard work that goes into keeping the F-16 Fighting Falcon airborne. Finally, the 35th Medical Group showcased their medics' ability to execute contingency operations.

"After observing Team Misawa in action, I'm convinced these men and women understand their critical role in PACOM's mission," Spadaro said. "They're here to fight tonight. They're here to defend the United States and our allies. They are aware of the large responsibility they're carrying, and they embrace it."