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BDOWG opens the door to the Pacific

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sebastian Romawac, Airman 1st Class Catherine Daniel, Airman 1st Class Jonathan Sifuentes, Airman 1st Class Edward Yankus
  • 18 Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps members came together with Japan Self-Defense Force members to increase interoperability between services by conducting the Bilateral Defense of Okinawa Working Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 25-28, 2023. The working group allowed all participating services to observe, learn and discuss ways to increase bilateral training efforts, operational integration, overall defense, safety and regional partnerships.

During the event, BDOWG participants built off progress made from previous year’s conference, diving deeper into Agile Combat Employment tactics. BDOWG priorities focused on weapons, munitions and fuel assets.

“One major priority is to highlight and demonstrate the viability and the usefulness of hot pit refueling,“ said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Maysonet, 18th Wing Agile Combat Employment noncommissioned officer in charge. “It's not necessarily only about refueling an airplane, it's all of the other benefits that happen including the likelihood of that airplane being grounded is reduced, we don't have to do crew swaps for example,and there’s other benefits that are not immediately obvious.”

BDOWG brought unique perspectives from both JSDF and the USMC that increased communication efficiency between all the parties involved. BDOWG not only bolsters the defense of Okinawa, but allows all members to have a clear understanding of allied operations, enhancing joint force operational efficiency in the Indo-Pacific Region.

“The most important aspect is educating each other, and sharing as much information, experience and knowledge as we can across the combined force,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. James Lomsdale, 1st Marine Air Wing, Future Operations Office Wing Aviation Command control officer. “Ultimately, what it comes down to is increasing our information sharing across our force. That's what's going to further develop our relationships for the networks which allow us to continue our conversations going forward.”

Language barriers can pose a challenge when communicating with partner nations, BDOWG is an opportunity to form stronger bonds between Okinawa-based U.S. forces and Japanese military services. This year’s BDOWG offers more opportunity for improvement of communication thanks to the 18th Wing commander, the first Marine Air Wing Commanding General and the Commanding General of the Japanese Air Self Defense Force, who will sit in on the BDOWG out brief this year.

“It’s important to bring key leaders to the table to hear everything that we've talked about, everything that we've worked on and the ways we intend to address areas needing improvement,” said Lomsdale. “Getting direct feedback allows us to immediately implement some of the things that we're working on as well as validates the conversations that we're having.”

As BDOWG comes to a close, participants are prepared to work towards further interoperability and joint operations across the Indo-Pacific theater.

“We have to get comfortable being uncomfortable, in order to do that we have to put some mental rigor into finding dynamic events and situations that we can challenge ourselves on as a bilateral and combined joint force,” said Lomsdale. “I look forward to continuing conversations and continuing engagements, BDOWG is an opportunity for an expanded conversation with a larger group.”