KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- U.S. Airmen and Sailors from Kadena Air Base teamed up in the skies near Okinawa with Japan Air Self Defense Force personnel during the latest iteration of the bilateral Southern Beach exercise, Jan. 19.
“Southern Beach is a bilateral exercise between U.S. personnel from Kadena Air Base and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Sebastian Coburn, 18th Operations Support Squadron dissimilar air combat-training wing chief.
Southern Beach provides U.S. and Japanese personnel the opportunity to integrate as an allied force to better understand each other’s strengths, practice fluidity and execute the mission of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
There were a multitude of aircraft from different units coming together. Aircraft from Kadena AB included F-15C Eagles, KC-135 Stratotanker, E-3 Sentry, HH-60 Pave Hawks and U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon. Japan Air Self-Defense Force aircraft included the F-2, the F-15J and the E-767.
The Southern Beach exercise involves close coordination between all forces involved, from mission planning, execution and debrief.
While U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force often train together in similar Southern Beach exercises, the inclusion of the U.S. Navy’s P-8A added a unique dimension to this event.