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Kadena opens doors for JASDF NCO's

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher A. Marasky
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base opened its doors to 67 Japan Air Self Defense Force airmen April 23 as part of a bilateral exchange program.

The program is a 5th Air Force initiative started 11 years ago as an NCO and Airman exchange between JASDF and the U.S. Air Force. In 2002 a second initiative was added to enhance the bilateral exchange program. The new initiative called for JASDF members to visit Air Force bases on sponsored one-day tours.

"Today we did a tour with the JASDF airmen through various areas on the base to show them how we live, where we eat and how we work," said Master Sgt. Michael Paquin, 18th Wing bilateratal coordinator "This way they can compare and contrast the two services."

The JASDF airmen visited the Erwin PME Center, Marshall Dining Facility, living quarters for both Airmen and NCO's, a weapons load team demonstration, and the physiological training facility.

Each U.S. Air Force base in Japan participates in this NCO exchange program and operates under the basic objectives of bolstering cultural awareness of each other's customs and way of life, and also showing each other how their particular air force does business.

"The end result is that both of our U.S. Air Force and JASDF enlisted members walk away with enhanced understanding of each other's culture," said Sergeant Paquin. "They realize that despite slight differences between methodologies of performing tasks, both play a key role in this part of the world and that operating, maintaining, and sustaining air superiority is the number one priority for both air forces."

The JASDF members asked various questions of Kadena's Airmen comparing the 18th Wing's ways to their own.

"We must learn from each other," said Warrant Officer Yoshihiro Matsukawa, chief enlisted advisor of the Southwestern Composite Air Division. "We wanted to come over and learn the different systems and facilities you have here at Kadena."

In June members of Team Kadena will teach English conversation to JASDF Airmen. The training will be held over two days in Naha and at Kadena.

The 18th Wing is looking for volunteers in various Air Force specialty codes to help JASDF members improve their English skills as they prepare to depart for southwest Asia.