Air University hosts Japanese air defense leader

  • Published
  • By Billy Blankenship
  • Air University Public Affairs

Air University welcomed Gen. Hiroaki Uchikura, Koku-Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) Chief of Staff, during the 2024 International Honor Roll event, at Maxwell Air Force Base, April 17-20, 2024.

Uchikura was inducted into the International Honor Roll, a Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force sponsored program, as a graduate of an Air University program who has since risen to a prominent position within his service.

“First of all, I am greatly honored to become part of prestigious IHR,” said Uchikura, a 1998 graduate of Air Command and Staff College. “I also feel that beyond my personal insight, this symbolizes the traditional relationship between the United States Air Force and the Koku-Jieitai and the deepness of the human connection.”

Uchikura spoke of his memories as an Air University student, which included overcoming a language barrier, interactions with his classmates, along with experiences afforded to him within the classroom.

“Conversation and writing essays were tough,” he said. “Since I am not a native English speaker, it was hard to catch up the discussions in the seminar especially to speak out in timely manners. We enjoyed playing soccer, golf, softball and going to field trips. I was given a lot of opportunities to be exposed to the living way of life and culture in Montgomery. What was also unforgettable was Gathering of Eagles where I met the living legends, former Chief of Staff General Ronald R. Fogleman and Charles Yeager.”

The leader of the Koku-Jieitai completed the ACSC in-resident curriculum, immersing himself into a 10-month graduate-level program taught through small group seminars and lectures. Courses cover topics that include the profession of arms, leadership and ethics, joint operations, airpower, and the international security environment.

“Receiving lectures directly from the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and other service chiefs about how they think about leadership were indispensable experiences,” Uchikura said. “The knowledge of war history, war theory and conflict resolution, as well as the latest military trends taught in systematic manners stick with me to this day. Critical thinking is still in the core of my way of thinking and military briefing composing by 3 Main Points is the way I still follow.”

In conjunction with his enshrinement into the International Honor Roll, Uchikura was able to speak to current ACSC students, along with engage in several bilateral meetings with other countries’ military leadership. Having the opportunity to accomplish all these items in one place reminded him of the value of the professional military education environment.

“The value of PME is not only a learning opportunity from the world’s-best United States Air Force, but also a chance to gain the network among the U.S. personnel as well as the international students, which can be long lasting,” he said. “In my case, I was able to spend time in ACSC when I was a captain to major, then in 2015, I came back to CFACC as a major general. Those experience enabled me to fully absorb and update the idea of the United States Air Force’s value and culture, the world’s strategic environment and required leadership in each position, which led me to see things from multiple angles and greatly contributed to my career afterwards. This may be just a coincidence, but five consecutive Chief of Staffs of Koku-Jieitai, including me, are AU graduates.”