News>JASDF, USAF service members build bilateral friendships
U.S. Air Force and Japan Self-Defense Force service members prepare for a joint bilateral soccer scrimmage at Komatsu JASDF base, Dec. 5, 2010. The teams took a break from operations at Keen Sword, a regularly scheduled exercise that strengthens Japan-U.S. military interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Cammie Quinn)
Two team captains shake hands prior to a soccer scrimmage with players from the U.S. Air Force and Japan Self-Defense Force at Komatsu, Japan, Dec. 5, 2010. The grouped played soccer during down time in Keen Sword operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Cammie Quinn)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Pfleegor, 644 Combat Communications Squadron, passes the ball to a Japan Air Self-Defense Force member during a soccer scrimmage at Komatsu Japan Air Self-Defense Force base, Dec. 5, 2010. More than 20 JASDF and U.S. Air Force members took a break from the flightline in favor of the soccer field during operations at Keen Sword 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Cammie Quinn)
U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force members clean leaves from the streets surrounding Komatsu JASDF base during a community volunteer event, Dec. 5, 2010. Members of both forces are participating in the bilateral exercise, Keen Sword. During Keen Sword 2011, units from the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps conduct training with their Japan Self-Defense Force counterparts at military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa and in the waters surrounding Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Cammie Quinn)
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Edward Waskosky, 35th Air Force Maintenance Squadron first shirt, is interviewed by Miki-San, local Komatsu, Japan reporter during a park clean up event at a local park, Dec. 5, 2010. Sergeant Waskosky is the first shirt for the U.S. Air Force Airmen deployed to Komatsu JASDF base in support of Keen Sword operations. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Cammie Quinn)
by 1st Cammie Quinn
35th Fighter Wing, public affairs
12/8/2010 - KOMATSU AIR SELF-DEFENSE FORCE, Japan -- Japanese and American service members located at Komatsu Japan Air Self-Defense Force base took bilateral teamwork to a new level recently as a group discussed tactics and procedures of the intricate sport of soccer.
More than 30 JASDF and U.S. Air Force Airmen played in a soccer scrimmage, while others participated in a park clean-up effort in the community surrounding Komatsu JASDF base.
More than 170 U.S. Air Force members are deployed to Komatsu JASDF base in support of Keen Sword, a regularly scheduled exercise in which service members integrate into each other's missions to promote interoperability among Japanese and American forces.
Keen Sword is designed to allow the United States and Japan to practice and evaluate the coordination procedures and interoperability elements required to effectively and mutually respond to the defense of Japan, or to a regional crisis or contingency situation in the Asia-Pacific region, while building bilateral confidences and working relationships.
On a fun note, the interactions gave members a chance to interact in a non-stress environment, and the teams kicked the ball around without much of a language barrier, said Staff Sgt. Brandon Pfleegor, 644th Combat Communications Squadron.
"The communication is pretty much the same throughout the game," Sergeant Pfleegor said. "You just understand certain moves. A 'cross' means cross in both languages, same with 'touch and go's'."
It was interesting seeing the similarities in players even with the different backgrounds, he added.
A few miles down the road, more than 50 JASDF and U.S. Air Force members participated in a clean-up event where they gathered litter, landscaped, and raked leaves at Hasuike Park in Komatsu.
"We're out here to show our appreciation for the Japanese community and help make Japan even more beautiful," said Master Sgt. Edward Waskosky, 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first shirt. "It's going very well, and the park is looking pretty good."
One pilot said he enjoyed giving back to the Japanese community, and said he enjoys the interaction with the local residents.
"Plus, it feels great to be outside, hard at work," Capt. Jason Schaub, 14th Fighter Squadron F-16 pilot, said.
Scheduled for December 3-10, Keen Sword 2011 is the tenth joint-bilateral field training exercise since 1986 involving Japan Self-Defense Forces and United States military forces and will cap the 50th anniversary of the Japan-U.S. alliance as an "alliance of equals."