NEWS | May 2, 2018

U.S. F-16s Relocate, Misawa Airmen integrate with Japan Air Self-Defense Force in Chitose

By Airman 1st Class Xiomara M. Martinez 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

CHITOSE AIR BASE, Japan -- Nearly 95 personnel and six F-16 Fighting Falcons from Misawa Air Base soared to Chitose Air Base, Japan, April 23 to 27 to participate in an aviation training relocation program.

Misawa AB F-16s, Yokota AB C-130J Super Hercules and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-15 Eagles, assigned to the 201st and 203rd Tactical Fighter Squadrons, participated in the ATR, strengthening the U.S.-Japan security alliance and interoperability between both countries.

“I’m excited to be here and have the opportunity to work with the Japanese,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Joshua Lemair, a 13th Fighter Squadron F-16 instructor pilot. “I had a great time flying with the JASDF while these sorties helped both countries improve throughout the week.”

Throughout the exercise, U.S. Air Force and JASDF members worked together and executed daily sorties, which included basic fighter maneuvers and defensive counter air mission sets.

Not only did the 35th Maintenance Group and 35th Operations Group participate in the Chitose ATR, but the 35th Security Forces Squadron, 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 35th Medical Group also had a hand in the exercise.

“I feel honored to be a part of this training mission,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Craig Piazza, a 35th SFS base defense operations controller. “Being one of the first defenders to come out here and watch the ATR unfold was exciting. Having our guys out here working together is a good opportunity to network and strengthen our ties among Misawa Airmen and our counterparts.”

For more than 50 years, the U.S.-Japan security alliance has served as the cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region. The Chitose ATR is just another example of the strong bonds the two nations share in their partnership.

“This operation is significant because it’s critical to mission safety,” Lemair explained. “It contributes to strengthening our relationships, as well as building mutual trust between the U.S. and Japan alliance. If we ever have to work with any other units in any kind of contingency scenario, we’d be able to quickly pick up where we left off in training and be ready.”