MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 35th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) and their Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Airmen counterparts, worked together to replace deteriorating high-voltage overhead lines at Draughon Range in Misawa, Japan, July 15.
Over the course of three weeks, four Japanese national technicians and ten 35 CES and JASDF electricians replaced 3,000 meters (1.9 miles) of 30-year-old power lines and hardware.
“This project is a great opportunity for our young Airmen to learn and be able to get hands-on training on high-voltage line work,” said Master Sgt. Paul Perez, the 35th CES electrical systems section chief. “Our experienced Japanese national counterparts have been very supportive and patiently teaching and guiding our Airman throughout this project.”
Typically, high-voltage line replacement is a contracted project; however, the 35 CES electrical shop seized the opportunity for their Airmen to receive on-the-job training alongside their JASDF counterparts.
“Working with JASDF has been very educational and definitely an experience I won’t forget,” said Airman 1st Class Christopher Anderson, a 35 CES electrical systems apprentice. “Working with JASDF electricians gave me a broader understanding both in my career field and with our host nation partners.”
Anderson continued by saying the language barrier was the most challenging aspect of the job.
“We spent the days teaching each other about one another’s equipment while exchanging tactics and procedures,” said Anderson. “The language barrier is definitely not easy to navigate, but we can usually find some way to communicate what we need, whether it be with the help our Japanese nationals or just common lingo in our career field.”
Not only did U.S. and JASDF Airmen benefit from completing the project as a team but it also saved the Air Force 90,000 dollars.
“Overall, this project had a high impact on missions occurring at Draughon Range. It allows Airmen to stay combat-ready, while building stronger cohesion between the USAF and JASDF,” said Perez.