U.S. Air Force Maj. John Greven, 5th Air Force exercise control group lead, briefs American and Japanese pilots during Keen Sword 2013 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Nov. 7, 2012. During the briefing, Greven informed the pilots on expected weather conditions and their temporary chain of command to be used throughout the 12-day exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson)
Pilots from the U.S. military and Japan Air Self-Defense Force are briefed by officers and exercise planners during Keen Sword 2013 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Nov. 7, 2012. Before the pilots take flight, they must be briefed on flight restrictions, exercise chain of command, contact information and simulated combat strategies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson)
Members of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force listen during a Keen Sword 2013 initial briefing at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Nov. 7, 2012. At the briefing, pilots from the U.S. military and JASDF were told what the bilateral team would be doing during an upcoming mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson)
by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
11/9/2012 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airmen from across Misawa Air Base are teaming up with their Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts in support of a Japan-wide, two week long exercise that will run from Nov. 5-16, 2012.
Keen Sword is the twelfth flagship joint-bilateral field training exercise since 1986 involving United States military forces and Japan Self-Defense Forces.
During the exercise, servicemembers will practice responding to a wide range of realistic combat scenarios. These situations include defense of the region and reacting to a simulated contingency situation affecting Japan.
American and Japanese military leadership guarantee that the scenarios being executed in the next few weeks are not in preparation of immediate defensive or offensive operations. The planning for this year's bilateral program began a year ago, so it is not connected to any particular area of the world, nation or existing political and geographical situations.
"Misawa's role in this exercise is to lead the integration efforts with JASDF," said Col. Samuel Shaneyfelt, 35th Operations Group commander.
Not only does the exercise allow Airmen to improve their combat readiness skills, but it also helps build bilateral confidence and strengthen working relationships between the two militaries.
"It's an incredible opportunity to personally work with our Japanese counterparts and strengthen our relationship," said Capt. Matthew Hoyt, 13th Fighter Squadron Keen Sword officer. "Not only does this gives us a chance to test tactics together, but allows us the opportunity to share cultures and insight into one another's operating styles. If we build that camaraderie now, then one day, when it's time to defend this country together, we'd have already solidified that trust between us."
Some of the challenges that will surface during the exercise are the differences in language and combat tactics.
"Although American and Japanese air forces run things relatively the same, there are some differences in tactics and weapons system," said Lt. Col. John McDaniel, 13th Fighter Squadron commander. "Learning to integrate and maximize each others' strengths and minimizing the weaknesses are all part of fortifying our working relationship."
Shaneyfelt agreed with the 13 FS commander and added that he was eager to see how well the two militaries work together during the exercise.
"We'll see what happens in the next couple of weeks," said the Shaneyfelt. "I'm really looking forward to it."
For questions regarding U.S. training and personnel, refer to U.S. Forces, Japan Public Affairs at (04)2551-5924. Any questions regarding JASDF training and personnel, refer to the Japanese Joint Staff Office Public Affairs at (03) 5366-3111, ext 30052.