YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- A bilateral collaboration of U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) members conducted an annual New Year’s Jump exercise at Camp Narashino, Chiba, Japan, Jan. 13, 2022.
Approximately 300 JGSDF paratroopers from the 1st Airborne Brigade jumped from three USAF C-130J Super Hercules, which flew alongside two JASDF C-130H Hercules, two JASDF Kawasaki C-2 greyhounds, and several JGSDF CH-47JA Chinook and UH-1J Iroquois helicopters.
“It’s a JGSDF hosted event that the USAF has participated in since 2019,” said Capt. Chelsie Jones, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130J instructor pilot and New Year’s Jump mission commander. “This bilateral air-assault exercise showed the strength and speed in which allied forces can conduct operations. We flew in seven allied aircraft, rapidly deployed hundreds of paratroopers, and secured a target area within nine minutes.”
Jones and her team worked for months with JGSDF mission planners and JASDF pilots to coordinate flying formations for the operation. The through preparation helped mission leaders succeed in performing real-time communication throughout the exercise, enabling quick adjustments and streamlined execution of jumps, which showcased the efficient teamwork and professionalism of U.S. and Japanese mission partners, Jones said.
“Working with our Japanese partners is something I’ll never forget,” Jones said. “We all learned to figure out how to mesh our operational processes together and overcome obstacles with mutual respect and consideration of each other.”
The annual New Year’s jump exercise has existed for decades as a Japanese military tradition of wishing good fortune for paratroopers in the New Year, and more recently as part renewal of allied commitment to the joint defense of Japan and partner nations throughout the Indo-Pacific region.