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US Airmen, Japanese Soldiers conduct jump training, strengthen Yokota AB interoperability

  • Published
  • By Yasuo Osakabe
  • 374th Airlift Wing public affairs

Since exercise Keen Sword 19 last year, Airmen from the 374th Operations Group, Yokota Air Base, and soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, 1st Airborne Brigade, kept a focus on strengthening ties by executing airborne proficiency operations with combat readiness and interoperability.

The service members met again at Yokota Air Base to conduct jump training observed by 374th Operations Support Squadron survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists on Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita Prefecture, Japan, July 16.

“Bilateral training missions are important because they improve the working relationship between the U.S. crewmembers and our host nation partners.” said Capt. Evan Taylor, 36th AS C-130J Super Hercules pilot and a mission commander. “Also, they allow unique training opportunities for both allies as we share different techniques from those normally utilized.”

The training mission: More than 80 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force paratroopers boarded two U.S. Air Force C-130Js at Yokota AB and flew over the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tsuiki Air Base in Fukuoka prefecture. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force paratroopers geared up and conducted airdrop training from the C-130Js.

“A valuable lesson from this training mission was coordinating with the JGSDF to employ an airdrop procedure called a Verbally Initiated Release System, which the (U.S. Air Force) does not typically employ,” Taylor said. “Usually, U.S. C-130Js use a Computed Air Release Point technique to airdrop paratroopers, where the plane’s computer automatically analyzes winds and guides pilots to fly to a point in space to begin the airdrop.”

The VIRS is a method where a ground controller analyzes the drop zone winds, then use radio communications to direct the aircraft to fly over a predetermined point to begin an airdrop operation.

“The ability to operate with the JGSDF allowed U.S. crewmembers a unique opportunity to employ an airdrop technique during the airdrop training mission that U.S. crews do not normally get to practice,” Taylor said.

U.S. Air Force 374th OSS SERE specialists assisted as jumpmasters during the airdrop training mission.

“There is really no issues working with the JGSDF paratroopers. They communicate well on the aircraft and use the same signals as we do,” said Tech. Sgt. Seth Sarrett, 374th OSS SERE specialist and jumpmaster. “It was good training for both sides and no simple feat with 80 jumpers from two C-130Js on a tactical DZ.”