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Yokota AB hosts Pacific Unity 2019

U.S. Air Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) civil engineers work together to cut a square around the simulated impact crater as part of rapid airfield damage repair (RADR) operations during Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, August 22, 2019.

U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force civil engineers work together to cut a square around a simulated impact crater as part of rapid airfield damage repair operations during Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Aug. 22, 2019. The four-day training event brought together members from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron out of Yokota AB, local JASDF from Yokota and Iruma Air Bases, Japan, the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron out of Osan AB, and 8th CES out of Kunsan AB, both South Korea, to learn best RADR practices from the 554th RED HORSE Squadron out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

An Airman from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron communicates with his Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterpart to better position equipment during the hands on portion of Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, August 22, 2019.

An Airman from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron, right, communicates with his Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterpart to better position a bulldozer during the hands-on portion of Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Aug. 22, 2019. Pacific Unity is a Pacific Air Force initiative to bring together civil engineers from throughout the region to team up with Japan Air Self-Defense Force civil engineers to coordinate and integrate how best perform rapid airfield damage repair in contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Training cadre from the 554th RED HORSE Squadron out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, oversees U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force civil engineers mix water and flow able fill rapid set concrete to complete the backfill portion of rapid airfield damage repair during Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, August 23, 2019.

A training cadre from the 554th RED HORSE Squadron out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, right, oversees U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force civil engineers mix water and rapid-set concrete to complete the backfill portion of rapid airfield damage repair during Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Aug. 23, 2019. The four-day training event brought together members from the 374th Civil Engineer Squadron out of Yokota AB, local Japan Air Self-Defense Forces from Yokota and Iruma Air Bases, Japan, the 51st CES out of Osan AB, and 8th CES out of Kunsan AB, both Republic of Korea, to learn best RADR practices from the 554th RHS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Staff Sgt. Shannon Anderson, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems craftsman out of Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, cuts open a bag of flow able fill rapid set concrete to be mixed with water to complete the backfill portion of rapid airfield damage repair (RADR) during Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, August 22, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Shannon Anderson, 51st Civil Engineer Squadron electrical systems craftsman out of Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, cuts open a bag of rapid-set concrete to be mixed with water to complete the backfill portion of rapid airfield damage repair during Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota AB, Japan, Aug. 22, 2019. Pacific Unity is a Pacific Air Force initiative to bring together civil engineers from throughout the Pacific to team up with Japan Air Self-Defense Force civil engineers to coordinate and integrate how to best perform RADR in contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Japan Air Self-Defense Force and U.S. Air Force service members take part in the table top portion of Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, August 21, 2019.

Japan Air Self-Defense Force and U.S. Air Force service members take part in the table top portion of Pacific Unity 2019 at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Aug. 21, 2019. To better perform rapid airfield damage repair operations, the table-top portion of the exercise allowed participants to better plan the timing of the entire process, from items leaving the warehouse down to the exact moment repair would be complete and the airfield back in action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

U.S. Air Force Col. David McCleese, 5th Air Force A4 director, speaks with the participants of Pacific Unity 2019 about the importance of the event prior to the classroom portion commencing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, August 20, 2019.

U.S. Air Force Col. David McCleese, 5th Air Force A4 director, speaks with the participants of Pacific Unity 2019 about the importance of the event prior to the classroom portion commencing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Aug. 20, 2019. Pacific Unity is a Pacific Air Force initiative to bring together civil engineers from throughout the region to team up with Japan Air Self-Defense Force civil engineers to coordinate and integrate how to best perform rapid airfield damage repair in contingency operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) --

As the dust settled and the concrete solidified, where once was a crater now stands a repaired airfield ready for use. With Pacific Unity 2019 coming to a close, civil engineer squadrons from throughout the Pacific will have the knowledge and tools needed to ensure their respective airfields can get up and running after an attack, putting planes in the sky and keep the mission ongoing.

The four-day bilateral training event spanning from Aug. 20-23 brought together Airmen from throughout the Pacific to team up with Japanese Air Self-Defense Force service members to learn the advanced Rapid Airfield Damage Repair skills necessary to respond in war-time contingency operations.

“Pacific Unity is a Pacific Air Force’s initiative to bring together civil engineer squadrons from the Republic of Korea and Japan to work alongside our partner nation of Japan’s Kokou Jietai (JASDF) engineers to improve interoperability when it comes to airfield repair,” said Master Sgt. Brent Fallon, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron base engineer emergency force manager. “To do just that, we put together mixed teams from the 374th CES out of Yokota Air Base, local JASDF from Yokota and Iruma AB, Japan, 51st CES, Osan AB, and 8th CES, Kunsan AB, to learn the process as one, allowing them to be better prepared to work with individuals from different installations, or even nations, to respond to a damaged airfield in the most efficient manner possible.

“To teach the teams every facet of the RADR process from start to finish, we brought in the best subject matter experts to do the job, the Silver Flag cadre from the 554th RED HORSE Squadron, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam,” he continued. “Under the guidance of the 554th RHS, the units attending were able to develop skills in fiber-reinforced polymer mat placement, warehouse operations, crater repair along with the command and control functions that allow us to get airfields operational within a few short hours after the damage occurred.”

With the first two days of the event focused on learning the process and building the team skills necessary to complete the task, the final day allowed the teams to show their progress, capping off their week by repairing multiple craters with little to no cadre assistance.

“Today, we came together as a team to completely repair our simulated airfield damage without much issue,” said JASDF Capt. Tomofumi Okubo, JASDF Operations Support Wing planning division, logistics section civil engineer chief. “From the planning and logistics portion of preparing to the actual execution of the repair, our final product really showed what we are capable of when we work with each other.”

“It’s moments like this that really highlight the strength of the partnership between Japan and the United States,” Okubo said. “It gives us the comfort of knowing the best practices for RADR, or should the need ever arise, we can seamlessly integrate crews to assist each other in airfield repair because that’s what allies do.”

It is that alliance that allowed the crews to bond with one another on multiple levels to get the job done.

“The language barrier was a small issue, but we had so many more positives working for us that the barrier didn’t really hinder us,” said Senior Airman Jason Brown, 374th CES GeoBase technician. “We may not have all shared the same language, but we were all engineers and we spoke that language effortlessly. When we all have that shared responsibility to get the job done, it makes it so much easier to come together and rely on one another.

“While we all hope we never need to put the skills we developed here today to use,” Brown said. “I know I can trust any of the engineers, no matter where they came from, that I worked with today. Pacific Unity gave us the confidence to know we are ready to answer that call should it ever come and, more importantly, that we are not alone in being prepared for that call.”

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