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Airpower integrated into Yama Sakura 63
Col. Stephen Myers, 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment commander (left), discusses the coordination of bilateral air and ground operations during Yama Sakura 63 with Maj. Gen. Masashi Yamada, Air Defense Command commander (middle), in the Bilateral Air Operations Command Center at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Dec. 11, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Cody Chiles)
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Airpower integration in Yama Sakura 63

Posted 12/18/2012   Updated 12/18/2012 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Cody Chiles
Fifth Air Force, Director of Public Affairs

12/18/2012 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan  -- U.S. Army and Air Force service members united with Japan Ground and Air Self Defense Forces at Yokota Air Base to bilaterally coordinate ground operations and control airspace in support of Yama Sakura 63 in Sendai, Dec. 6 to 13, 2012.
For the first time, 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment, Fifth Air Force, Northeast Army of the Japan Ground Self Defense Force and Japan Air Self Defense Force service members operated in JASDF's Air Defense Command's Bilateral Air Operations Coordination Center at Yokota Air Base.

The 5th BCD was sent to Yokota by U.S. Army Pacific as the Army force liaison for the Yama Sakura Joint Force Air Component Commander; their objective, provide seamless Army-Air Force integration for operations, plans, intelligence, aid defense, airlift and airspace management.

"We gave the JFACC a comprehensive picture of both air and ground operations to ensure the best command and control decisions are made," said Col. Stephen Myers, 5th BCD commander. "Partnering here at Yokota also allowed us to successfully strengthen bilateral relations."

In addition, the utilization of the newly constructed BAOCC allowed American and Japanese service members to exchange ideas, tactics, techniques and military experience.

The BAOCC was used as a command and control center during Yama Sakura. While there, service members utilized real time three-dimensional mapping to overlay ground and air requirements and restrictions; and generated bilateral air tasking orders to achieve air superiority.

"One of our objectives was to effectively clear airspace to ensure friendly forces could fire artillery without putting friendly assets in danger," said Myers. "I worked with the Air Force last year, and we determined the new BAOCC at Yokota was the best location for the BCD at this year's exercise. The exercise was extremely successful."

ADC's Headquarters moved to Yokota AB in March of 2012 to improve bilateral contingency planning, training and intelligence sharing with Fifth Air Force.

This year was the first time Fifth Air Force played an active role in Yama Sakura. Fifth Air Force absorbed the roles, responsibilities, mission and personnel from 13th Air Force, Detachment 1, after 13th Air Force's deactivation in September of 2012.

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