First for U.S., Japan air forces: nighttime training over East China Sea Published July 6, 2017 By Headquarters Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs Headquarters Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force units sharpened their combat skills during a bilateral mission over the East China Sea July 6. Using Andersen Air Force Base, Guam as a power projection platform, a B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, flew a mission over the East China Sea with their Japanese counterparts. While bilateral operations like this have become increasingly routine, this mission marked the first time U.S. Pacific Command-directed B-1B Lancers have conducted combined training with JASDF fighters at night. Participating in bilateral training enables the operational units to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills, while also building bilateral confidence and strong working relationships. "Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe, effective manner is an important capability shared between the U.S. and Japan," said Maj. Ryan Simpson, Pacific Air Forces chief of bomber operations. On conclusion of the bilateral operations, the B-1Bs proceeded to the South China Sea before returning to Andersen Air Force Base. The recent mission demonstrates how the U.S. will continue to exercise the rights of freedom of navigation anywhere international law allows. These actions are consistent with long-standing and well-known U.S. freedom of navigation policies that are applied to military operations around the world. "This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies," added Simpson. U.S. joint military forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific are always ready to defend the American homeland. These flights with Japan demonstrate the solidarity between Japan and the U.S. to defend against provocative and destabilizing actions in the Pacific theater.