KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Air Force officers from allied and partner nations across the Pacific, visited Kadena Air Base, Japan, to take part in the 2018 Fighter Logistics and Safety Symposium Aug. 20 through Aug. 24.
The inaugural symposium enabled forces from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. to work together and improve interoperability in the region.
“Since our forces are a lot smaller these days it’s more incumbent that we partner up with the nations in this area to promote security and stability in the region,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Pepper, Pacific Air Forces logistics engagements officer. “The best way to do that is with your friends.”
During the event, each countries’ representative conducted a presentation about challenges, solutions or unique procedures they use for their fighter aircraft.
“Listening to others about how they approach certain functions and processes is good, because you get an appreciation for how they do things and what their drivers are,” said Royal Australian Air Force Wing Commander Gary Simmonds, Headquarters Air Combat Group, deputy director of engineering. “When you boil it all down it comes to relationships, understanding and trust.”
The visiting officers also partook in briefings throughout the week and a tour of select fighter support units on Kadena AB.
“We showed our partner nations how we’re structured, how we work organizationally and what our roles and responsibilities are within that structure,” Pepper added, “Then we took them out on a tour so they could actually see what we’re talking about and hear from the Airmen who do the job.”
The tour also enabled participants to ask questions and share practices and procedures with each other.
“While we are different, I can see some similarities in some of the ways we do things such as safety and aircraft maintenance,” said Republic of Singapore Air Force Maj. John Ling, Air Engineering Logistics Department. “This was an eye opener for me, to be able to interact in this setting where we can actually discuss and understand each others’ differences.”
The goal of the interaction was for allied and partner nations to develop a better understanding of each others’ operations and help provide solutions to common challenges in the fighter community to boost interoperability in the region.
“When the time comes for us to start working together we don't have to spend time trying to understand how each other operates,” Ling added. “With collective wisdom, I believe we can achieve greater things. Symposiums like this will help us transit and integrate faster and more efficiently when we need to operate together in the future.”