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NEWS | June 23, 2014

Japan Self Defense Force visit with 909th Air Refueling Squadron

By Airman 1st Class Keith James 18th Wing Public Affairs

A group of more than 80 Japan Self Defense Force students and instructors participated in an orientation tour of Kadena's 909th Air Refueling Squadron to learn about the 909th's mission and capabilities June 19.

The orientation consisted of a mission briefing, static display of a KC-135 Stratotanker, one of six fixed-wing aircraft with over 50 years of continuous service, and a windshield tour of the base. Tours of the 18th Wing and its units help JASDF members gain a better understanding of how the U.S. military operates and fosters good community relations with the host nation.

During the tour the members got a chance to learn about the Stratotanker's many features from the huge engines to the refueling boom.

"It's great to have a chance to visit Kadena," said Master Sgt. Satoshi Fukutoku, JASDF armament and equipment worker. "I was impressed with the aircraft, its mission is so sophisticated yet it accomplishes it even with the aircraft being very old."

The 18th Wing supports about 20 visits from Japan Self Defense Force units and educational schools in the Ministry of Defense annually.

"They're great," said 1st Lt. Tyler Witt, 909th Air Refueling Squadron chief of intelligence.
"It's an awesome tie that we have with JASDAF, and events like these give us the opportunity to further strengthen those ties."

At the end of their visit, the JASDF members thanked all the various squadrons who helped make the tour happen and expressed their hope to visit again before they departed. "All the different squadrons bringing the collective pieces of the puzzle together and sharing their experiences and their knowledge with JASDF is the key to making events like these a success," Witt said.

With more visits to come in later this year, the 18th Wing is hoping to ensure bilateral relations continue to grow and flourish.

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