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18 EMS crash recovery train with JASDF counterparts

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --

Getting a flat tire is never convenient for anyone, but chances are they weren't on an airfield runway the last time it happened to them. Airmen from the 18th Equipment Maintenance Squadron hosted members of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force 9th Air Wing, Maintenance Operating Group, October 22, 2018, at Kadena Air Base, Japan, to share techniques and procedures on how both organizations do their job – clearing disabled aircraft off of what can be very busy runways and taxiways.

The two organizations came together to conduct Crash Damaged and Disabled Aircraft Recovery training to learn how they each approach two of their most common scenarios: a blown tire and an aircraft going off the improved surface of a runway or taxiway and into soft ground.

"CDDAR skills make it quicker and easier to clear the runways," said JASDF Tech. Sgt. Tomonori Miura, 9th Air Wing. "It's very important."

The 18th EMS Airmen showcased how they pull an aircraft off of soft ground, and then how they tow one with a damaged tire or wheel.

"Having a fully-qualified crash recovery shop is one of those things people don't think about until they need it," said Tech. Sgt. Sergio Tamayo, 18th EMS repair and reclamations south section chief. "It's a good thing to have people that are trained to deal with those scenarios, and can restore runway operations as soon as possible while also minimizing damage to the aircraft."

Closing a runway down, for even a short amount of time, Tamayo explained, can have detrimental effects on local and other flying operations and ripple across all of Japan, so understanding one another is key to restoring airfield operations quickly and safely.

Miura feels it’s important to work together, and learn each other's equipment and capabilities, "We have to be able to help each other quickly and efficiently."

Learning and practicing each other's procedures better prepares the organizations to work hand-in-hand during future exercises and operations.

"Aside from the language barrier, if they already know how to use all the equipment and procedures; it means less confusion in the middle of what could already be a tense situation," Tamayo said. "The goal is to show them what we can do well, so they can take those lessons back and apply them; we also see what they're doing well, so we can get better ourselves."