USAF and JGSDF conduct quarterly field training

  • Published
  • By Yasuo Osakabe
  • 374th Airlift Wing public affairs

The 374th Security Forces Squadron and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force 34th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division, conducted a joint field training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Aug. 30 and 31, to maintain the readiness of both forces and improve joint interoperability.

Based on the “Guard and Protect” agreement, Yokota defenders frequently partner with JGSDF to achieve the allied defense goals of both great nations.

Guard and Protect is a bilateral agreement, signed in 2003, between the U.S. and Japanese governments, which states during heightened threats to installations throughout the country, JGSDF and Japan Air Self-Defense Forces will augment security at U.S. installations.

“We keep an open relationship with JGSDF year-round with frequent meetings and training events," said Staff Sgt. Charles O’Connor, 374th SFS training instructor. “This will all culminate in our big annual exercise this October.”

The training focused on how Joint Base Defense Operations Centers respond to security threats in mission-oriented protective posture level 4. This posture includes a full chemical suit, boots, gloves, and donned gas mask.

“Their MOPP gear and ours are a little different, " said O’Conner. “But the concept remains the same–protect ourselves.”

In a bilateral environment, communication is key, so the English-Japanese language barrier is typically the biggest difficulty.

“We train together so often, I don’t feel a language barrier anymore,” said O’Connor. “We’ve come to understand each other’s body-language. Also, JGSDF brings an interpreter to help with specialized terms.”

When it comes time to respond to base threats, each unit knows their role in each facet of the operation and what their responsibilities entail. This understanding greatly improves the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the bilateral forces in times of crisis.

“Our partnership is priceless,” said Senior Master Sgt. David Izaguirre, 374th SFS NCO in-charge of investigations. “The 34th IR are our Japanese counterparts that would come to Yokota to support during contingency operations.

Our teamwork is important to the overall Japanese and U.S. alliance in order to maintain and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”