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Tasers, tears, teamwork


U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Corey Wilcox, 18th Security Forces Squadron response force member, is sprayed with pepper spray Nov. 9, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Military combative techniques are used as the safest, most effective way members of Security Forces subdue aggressive or resistant suspects. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Quay Drawdy)


Members of the 18th Security Forces Squadron and the Okinawa Police Department stand together for a group photo Nov. 9, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. More than 70 members from the Okinawa Police Department took part in the bi-lateral open-house. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Quay Drawdy)


Donie, 18th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, jumps through a car window during a demonstration Nov. 9, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The MWDs are trained to detect drugs and capture suspects that attempt to flee certain scenes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Quay Drawdy)


Sakuda Tomokatsu, Okinawa Police Department traffic officer, shouts during a taser demonstration Nov. 9, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Many techniques and tools are used to subdue suspects, such as vocal commands, combatives and tasers. Each one has many steps and requirements that must be met before Defenders will make the decision to utilize a particular option. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Quay Drawdy)


When it comes to bonding, few things bring people closer than shedding tears together. Whether those drops fall from a shared moment, sad movie or a bit of military grade pepper spray, the effect is the same: one will have someone to pick them up, dust them off and tell them they’ll be okay.  

The 18th Security Forces Squadron hosted a bi-lateral open-house with more than 70 members of the Okinawa Police Department, sharing a day filled with military working dogs, tasers, pepper spray and bonding Nov. 9, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. 

“The only time we really get to interact with our local counterparts is when we respond to the same situation off base or when we pick up someone in their custody, so it’s not always under the best circumstances,” said Tech. Sgt. David Aenchbacher, 18th Security Forces NCO in charge of plans and programs. “This gives us a great chance to spend some time outside of the normal daily grind to interact.” 

The day consisted of law enforcement members of the on and off-base communities coming together to participate in different types of training as a way to build up camaraderie, trade techniques and share some laughs. 

 The afternoon saw military working dogs run down officers in protective gear, a few received a shock when the tasers came out and plenty of tears were shed, some of which would be blamed on laughter, once the pepper spray hit the air. 

“Today allowed us to build relationships and friendships,” said Kazamune Namizato, Okinawa PD interpreter. “The officers were all very excited to come out and enjoyed the experience with the tasers the most.” 

With all the fun, laughter and watering eyes, members of the 18th SFS were able to share an afternoon understanding and building lasting relationships with their off-base brothers and sisters in blue at the Okinawa PD, fostering a stronger nature of mutual trust and respect. 

“This open-house is the essence of relationship building,” said Lt. Col. Tara Opielowski, 18th SFS commander. “Working on the relationships we have with our off-base partners helps us provide an even greater sense of security for our personnel and the aircraft here on Kadena. The pilots work together with members of the Japan Air Self Defense Force to secure our skies, we work with the local police to help secure the community and everything else on the installation.” 

Building those bonds and relationships outside of the stress and burdens of a work environment is a way for members to unwind and really focus on forming a lasting connection. 

“Law enforcement is law enforcement across the globe, no matter where you’re from or what country you’re in,” Aenchbacher said. “It’s an unspoken connection and being able to share that with any other law enforcement agency, especially one in a different country, operating just outside our gates, is great for both sides.”