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NEWS | Nov. 2, 2021

623rd ACS, JASDF and USMC Defend Pacific Together

By Airman 1st Class Stephen Pulter 18th Wing Public Affairs

NAHA AIR BASE, Japan -- Leadership from the 623rd Air Control Squadron, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and the U.S. Marines met in Naha, Japan, Oct. 20, 2021, to discuss ways to operate more efficiently together for the defense of the Indo-Pacific region.

The 623rd ACS, Marine Air Control Squadron 4, and JASDF have been working together to enhance their capabilities in regional defense. Together, they all bring unique capabilities to the table in order to make the mission happen.

"It's useful to have ease of communication between three services interested in the defense of the southwest sector of Japanese air space,” said 1st Lt. Gabriel Smith MACS-4 air defense company alpha 2nd platoon commander. “It’s also very useful to have each other as close friends to help us achieve our overlapping objectives.”

The relationship not only has a positive impact on the Marine and JASDF side of operations but also positively impacts the U.S. Air Force.

"We didn’t see the value in working parallel with each other; there’s a lot more to gain for everyone by working together,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jefferey Mitchell, 623rd ACS commander. “We decided to join forces in order to move in the right direction, go further, and go faster.”

Both branches and nations coming together allow a symbiotic relationship to occur, ensuring the defense of Okinawa. The future of these operations can play a critical role in the defense of this region.

"Currently, the Marines are the only way to provide an organic radar, outside of JASDF,” said Senior Master Sgt. Dustin Sleight, 623rd ACS senior enlisted leader. “They’re highly skilled in data links and tactical control. They’re teaching us their skills and tactics and we’re teaching them our tactics and procedures; we’re synergizing the fight together.”

Handling this large amount of sensitive information and passing it off is not an easy task to handle. All three services have come together to help better secure the Pacific and react to emergencies more efficiently.

"Together we tactically control aircraft, making sure that they have a clear picture of what they're going against in the airspace, and ensuring higher headquarters can see the same thing.” said Mitchell. “The goal is a continued relationship, we all have assets and data that can further improve the national defense strategy.”
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