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PACAF deputy commander recognizes Kadena innovation milestones

  • Published
  • By Photos by Senior Airmen Stephen Pulter, Cesar J. Navarro and Airman 1st Class Sebastian Romawac, Article by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Raughton
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan – U.S. Air Force Deputy Commander of Pacific Air Forces, Lt. Gen. James Jacobson, visited Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 16-19, 2022, to learn about Kadena operations on Okinawa and observe the quality of life of the Airmen who make up the largest operational combat wing in the Air Force.

Jacobson, formerly stationed at Kadena in 1995, visited 18th Wing leaders and toured the Innovation Lab to learn about the new tools and processes Airmen have been developing over the last few years. He also wanted to showcase to Airmen the vital role Kadena and other installations in Japan have in the region.

“This is an extraordinary moment from a geopolitical standpoint,” Jacobson said. “The world is a very interesting place and America’s role in it is to maintain the stability of the world and a free and open Indo-Pacific. It’s an opportunity at this time to be at the center point – the Keystone of the Pacific that is Kadena – in a time and place where Kadena plays a critical role in demonstrating America’s commitment to its alliance with the government of Japan.”

Jacobson said he recognized Airmen and families, 10,000 miles away from home, work hard and develop new ideas and processes to show the world that the Indo-Pacific matters to America and that they’ll remain committed to allies and partners in the region. The work Airmen perform at Kadena is critically important to both the national security goals in the priority theater.

“I visited the spark tank and looked at 3D innovation to make life a little bit easier for how we do aeromedical evacuation and the work they’re doing there,” he said. “The way they’ve created a way to connect with any allies’ and partners’ fuel systems so that we can generate air power from anywhere in the world is the innovation of Kadena’s Airmen.”

After visiting dozens of locations around the base and meeting the many members of Kadena’s workforce, Jacobson was impressed by the professionalism Airmen exude during their day-to-day tasks.

“The 46,000 Airmen and families that are out in the Pacific every day, demonstrating America’s commitment to its allies and creating a deterrent for its adversary, is what makes me most proud every day,” said Jacobson. “These folks work hard, they have fun, but they do it in a way that demonstrates America’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. That’s what we all should be proud of.”

While Kadena’s operation continues to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific based on a rules-based international order, Jacobson will take what he’s learned on Kadena back to Pacific Air Force’s headquarters in Hawaii.

“Their sacrifice and their work does not go unnoticed,” he said. “It’s noticed back in Honolulu. It’s noticed in our allies’ and partners’ capitals, and it’s certainly noticed by our adversaries. Thanks for being forward and thanks for being lethal and ready.”