An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | April 13, 2015

Foreign Officer Shares Rewards of Academy Exchange

By Amber Baillie, U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs /

In 2001, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Maj. Kazuto Ueda, then a cadet at Japan's National Defense Academy (NDA), visited the U.S. Air Force Academy for a week.

Never in his wildest dreams did he think he'd return here 12 years later to teach Japanese history, military and culture to American cadets.

Every year, the Academy and Japan's NDA exchange an officer to teach military and strategic studies for two years. Ueda, the Academy's 17th Japanese exchange officer, arrived in 2013.

"During my time here, I've improved my teaching skills, language ability, knowledge about the U.S. military, and established good professional and personal relationships with many U.S. officers," he said.

Ueda landed the opportunity to teach U.S. cadets through the Academy's Military Personnel Exchange Program. The program includes international officers from France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Spain, serving on the faculty and teaching foreign language and culture courses. The purpose is to build, sustain and expand international relations.

"It's an opportunity for us to share cultural ways of thinking and attitude," Ueda said. "The program enables cadets to feel more comfortable experiencing another culture or military and prepares them to go abroad."

In 2011, when Ueda was stationed at Misawa Air Base, Japan, he witnessed the Great East Japan Earthquake and joined Operation Tomodachi, where thousands of U.S. service members assisted and supported Japan following the disaster.

"I really appreciated the U.S support at that time," he said. "This experience motivated me to become an exchange officer in the U.S."

While here, Ueda has also assisted with the Japanese language class and supported the weekly Japanese language conversation practice round-table discussions.

"I enjoy teaching on Japanese military, which most Japanese language textbooks don't cover," he said. "To understand more about what cadets do in Airmanship programs here, I joined Airmanship 490 (Basic Jump Training) in 2014 and earned my jump wings."

Ueda said he teaches five classes and interacts with more than 100 cadets.

"Spending time with cadets is my favorite aspect of the job," he said. "I think they really enjoy interacting with a native Japanese speaker. Most of them are motivated to study, listen carefully and take good notes."

He said his biggest challenge in the role has been the language barrier.

"Sometimes I only understand 75-80 percent of what someone is saying," he said. "My English has improved significantly since working here for two years."

Ueda said he's learned more of an interactive way of teaching at the Academy.

"There are not many experts in the field of the cyber and space in Japan, so it's been a nice opportunity for me to learn basic knowledge in these fields through teaching cadets and having educational discussions with them," he said. "I believe understanding U.S. ways of thinking will help me in joint campaigns or U.S.-Japan contingency planning in the future."

Through events such as the Japanese Tomodachi Dinner, hosted by the Academy's commandant of cadets and other events, Ueda and his wife Toshiko have established memorable professional and personal relationships.

"We've had a lot of opportunities to socialize," he said. "In Japan, I would attend most events by myself. It's been a good opportunity for my wife to better understand my job and we've been overwhelmed by the kindness and hospitality of leaders and others here."

Brig. Gen. Stephen Williams, the commandant of cadets, said Ueda is a great example of a professional officer and has been an inspiration to thousands of cadets.

"He and Toshiko have helped increase our understanding of the Japanese culture by selflessly sharing their culture with many cadets and permanent party here," he said. "His efforts to improve U.S.-Japan relations come from the heart."

It's important to expose cadets to exchange officers so they can improve their acceptance and respect for other cultures, Williams said.

"Improving cooperation between countries happen one person at a time," he said. "Cadets will represent the U.S. as officers. This program gives them the chance to work with foreign officers now, which will improve relations in the future."

Ueda will return to Japan in July to begin an assignment at the Air Staff Office in Tokyo.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
333,955
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
CARAT Indonesia 2022 Kicks Off with Indonesian and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps
Indonesian Navy Rear Adm. Rachmad Jayadi deputy commander, Indonesian Navy Education and Training Doctrine Development Command, and U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Joaquin Martinez, vice commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, walk down the center aisle to being the opening ceremony for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2022, Dec. 7. CARAT Indonesia is a bilateral exercise between Indonesia and the United States designed to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance maritime interoperability. In its 28th year, the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises, designed to enhance U.S. and partner navies’ and marine corps abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
Dec. 7, 2022 - SURABAYA, Indonesia -- The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps began exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2022 with the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) and Marine Corps (KORMAR RI) in Surabaya, Indonesia, Dec...

Joint Statement on Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2022
Dec. 7, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- The Governments of the United States of America and Australia released the following statement on the occasion of the 32nd annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN).Secretary of State...

U.S. Marines, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Exercise Defensive Capabilities Across Multiple Islands during Keen Sword 23
U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 2d Marines and members of the Japan Self-Defense Force Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade offload a Japan Self Defense Force CH-47JA Chinook helicopter during Keen Sword 23 at Tsutara, Japan, Nov. 16, 2022. Keen Sword is a biennial training event that exercises the combined capabilities and lethality developed between 3d Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Japan Self-Defense Force. This bilateral field-training exercise between the U.S. military and JSDF strengthens interoperability and combat readiness of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.
Dec. 7, 2022 - OKINAWA, Japan -- The exercise kicked off with the establishment of three Bilateral Ground Tactical Coordination Centers (BGTCCs) at three different locations in the Nansei Islands where Marines from the 3d Marine Division,...

USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) Returns to Yokosuka, Japan
Sailors stand at parade rest aboard Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) during their return to Yokosuka, Japan, Dec. 5. Chancellorsville is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific and is assigned to Commander, Task Force 70, a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of its allies and partners in the region.
Dec. 7, 2022 - YOKOSUKA, Japan -- The forward-deployed Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) returned to Yokosuka, Japan Dec. 5, concluding their successful deployment in the 7th Fleet area of operations.The...

Community Pays Final Respects to Unaccompanied Veterans
A U.S. Army veteran renders a salute to the remains of five veterans after an unaccompanied funeral service at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Nov. 30, 2022. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs works jointly with the federally recognized non-profit organization Missing in American Project in locating, identifying and interring the unclaimed cremated remains of veterans with full honors and ceremony.
Dec. 7, 2022 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Service members and civilians came together to pay their final respects to five veterans during an unaccompanied funeral service at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Joint...