KADENA AIR BASE, Japan –
The 623rd Air Control Flight "Lightsword" combined with their Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts during a temporary deployment to Iruma Air Base, Japan, to strengthen bilateral relations June 22-26.
The ACF's main mission is to integrate bilateral air and missile defense operations through battlestaff and liaison functions and to provide tactical control within one or more Japanese direction centers.
The Central Air Defense sector of Japan is one of many centers the ACF can deploy to. Though the Airmen from the ACF integrate with JASDF counterparts in Naha, Japan, daily, this trip was successful in paving the way for better and more frequent relations with our mainland JASDF counterparts.
"We hope that this (trip) can be the first of many more, leading to more complex and detailed bilateral missions and simulations in the future," said Capt. Shannon Greene, 623rd ACF crew lead. "Our JASDF counterparts were extremely professional and dedicated to their mission, and they fully enveloped us into their culture."
One of the ways the JASDF members shared their culture during their time with the Airmen was through a Kendo, Ju Kendo and Kempo tournament June 25, where they welcomed their U.S. partners to watch the intense competition.
"We never get to see this part of their culture from a military perspective," Greene said. "This is a base-wide, JASDF event and it's amazing the level of participation that each unit provides."
Greene said the visit was a great experience for the 623rd ACF Airmen.
"You can really feel the pride and respect they have for each other and their squadrons," Greene said. "Our Airmen did an amazing job communicating and taking time to understand their JASDF partners, making this trip highly successful."