JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- U.S. Air Force Col. (Dr.) Lee Harvis, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) command surgeon, and Koku Jieitai, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Maj. Gen. Shinya Bekku, Koku Jieitai surgeon general, met at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, for their first face-to-face meeting July 9-12, 2018.
The talks gave them an opportunity to share medical services lessons learned, subject-matter expert exchanges and ways forward for future interoperability.
“It’s critical to build bilateral ties with our Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts,” Harvis said. “Sharing medical capabilities breaks down barriers and opens doors for regional engagements.”
The bilateral exchange highlighted past multinational exercise successes and addressed objectives for U.S. and Japanese patient support across the continuum of care to include 5th generation aircraft pilots.
“We hope to further the development of innovative training and support for aeromedical evacuation, F-35 pilots, and humanitarian operations,” Harvis said.
The discussions focused on joint partnerships and training opportunities meant to spark positive process improvements for the two allied air forces.
“Sharing knowledge and experiences with one another is very important for building relationships and developing an innovative mindset,” Bekku said. “Innovation is very important throughout all areas of military operations, including training. It’s a mechanism for us to change our thinking in order to solve regional challenges.”
The successful meeting laid the ground work for future bilateral U.S. and Koku Jieitai medical career field engagements and enhanced training and support throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
“We are stronger together,” Bekku said.