News: Marines teach JASDF cadets how to become pilots
Story by Lance Cpl. Charles Clark
IWAKUNI, Japan - Approximately 60 Japan Air Self-Defense Force aviation cadets were given a tour of the station by Marine Aircraft Group 12 officers during a Japanese Observer Exchange Program here Sept. 27.
The JASDF cadets, based out of Hofu North Air Base, toured the
station in order to gain a basic understanding of how joint U.S.-Japan operations work.
“The U.S. Marine Corps is a vital partner of the JASDF,” said Lt. Col. Makoto Hasegawa, JASDF aviation cadet training group commanding officer. “I want my students to recognize the importance of that relationship.”
Hasegawa has conducted many training exercises with U.S. forces.
“In my years of experience,the Marine Corps has proved to be the most cooperative during operations,” Hasegawa said.
Capt. Anthony D. Ramey, MAG-12 current operations officer, led the tour.
“It is our job to strengthen relations with all JSDF branches,” Ramey said.
Opportunities like this tour give future Japanese pilots a chance to understand how conducting exercises between the U.S. and JSDF forces happen, Ramey said.
After the brief, the cadets were divided into three groups and each headed to a different location to start the tour: the F/A-18D Hornet Tactical Operational Flight Trainer 37, an advanced flight simulator, the air traffic control tower and a static display of an F/A-18D Hornet on the flight line.
Larry L. Jeffords, an air traffic controller, told the cadets during a tour about the ATC tower and how JSDF pilots communicate to the air traffic controllers and answered questions the cadets asked.
“I explained to the cadets how we communicate with JASDF pilots so we are on the same page during missions like Operation Tomodachi,” Jeffords said.
“They asked smart and direct questions about what they would face when they become pilots.”
After exiting the ATC tower, the cadets were shown a static display of an F/A-18D Hornet.
The cadets learned how and why Marine pilots check aircraft before flying.
“We make sure we are satisfied with the safety of ourselves and the aircraft,” Ramey said. “We have know we are perfectly safe during our mission to stay focused on our objectives and come home safely. Every pilot, whether they are American or Japanese, needs to feel like their equipment is mission capable.”
The tour boosted the cadets’ morale and refocused their efforts to complete flight training.
“It was very exciting to learn how Marines train and the aircraft they fly,” Airman Kazuki Komone, a JASDF cadet. “I feel a lot more comfortable around Marines now that I know who I’ll be working with when I become a pilot.”
Some of the cadets reflected on their trip before heading back home.
“This is my first time coming to this air station. I can’t wait to fly operations with Marine pilots,” Minoru Tatsumi, a JASDF cadet, said. “Today was a very fun day.” The cadets are slated to start their first flight training in approximately one year, but it won’t be for at least another four to five years before they conduct joint-training exercises with Marines in the fleet.