Robins instructors provide aircraft battle damage repair training to allies

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Instructors from the 653rd Combat Logistics Support Squadron expanded their training responsibilities in mid-February to teach aircraft battle damage repair to five members from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

Aircraft battle damage repair, or ABDR, training teaches techniques that help maintainers repair aircraft quickly and return them to the fight, said Tech. Sgt. Glen Weaver, a training instructor for the ABDR program here. Most of the repair techniques focus on damage that occurs in battle. However, maintainers can apply repair techniques to aircraft damaged in other situations, such as crash landings.

Lt. Col. Masafumi Ito, Robins liaison officer with the JASDF, said the students are attending training at Robins because Japan does not have an ABDR training program and these students will replace students who completed the training two years ago.

The Japanese maintainers are here to train on the F-15 Eagle and the C-130 Hercules. Before departing March 8, the students will participate in three different courses: the ABDR technician; the ABDR assessor; and an F-15-specific or C-130-specific class, depending on which aircraft the student works on. Students become ABDR certified once they have completed the training and spent six months working on their respective aircraft.

Two of the Japanese students, 1st Lt. Yusuke Asano and Staff Sgt. Masayaka Takeuchi, will return to Japan to be maintenance instructors. The pair agreed that watching the instructors here and being trained in the ABDR techniques would be helpful as they returned to teach their troops aircraft maintenance.

Another student, 1st Lt. Atsushi Furusato, said Robins provided a good environment to learn all the material required during the ABDR training. He added it was also a good opportunity to study English.

Not all of the students were members of the JASDF. Tomohiro Matsuo is a civilian contractor who works for Kawasaki Industries, the company that maintains the C-130 aircraft for the JASDF.

"The mission has recently expanded and we have to maintain and improve our support abilities to meet the demand," Mr. Matsuo said.

To teach the principals and procedures of the ABDR training to the foreign students, some alterations have to be made to the training syllabus. Operational security checks were conducted to ensure no classified information is released.

"We had to revise our lesson plans to fit their aircraft," Sergeant Weaver said. While both countries fly F-15s, they use different models resulting in some discrepancies between repair procedures.

Staff Sgt. Paul Hockaday, an ABDR training instructor, said the language barrier doesn't hinder them from training the Japanese students or keep the trainers from gaining knowledge from the Japanese students.

"In maintenance, we all kind of speak the same language, even if it is two different languages," said Sergeant Hockaday.

Sergeant Weaver said the students have a solid approach to learning and that they are meticulous about every detail of the technical orders they learn in the training.

"They hang on every word we say in class. They are very serious about learning everything we teach them," Sergeant Weaver said.

All five students and the instructors agreed participating in the training was a good opportunity to develop and enhance relations between the two countries.

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