HomeNewsArticle Display

Northern Viper tests Team Misawa’s readiness

Osprey is approved for takeoff

U.S. Marine Corps joint terminal attack controllers communicate with a MV-22 Osprey during takeoff in Hokkaido, Japan, for a media day event during exercise Northern Viper 17, Aug. 18, 2017. Misawa Air Base is serving as a hub for U.S. Marine personnel and aircraft, exercising Team Misawa’s ability to thrive with an influx of other service members. Various agencies, including the 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels flight, 35th Force Support Squadron, 35th Medical Group, 35th Fighter Wing public affairs office and many more, offered equipment, resources and personnel to assist in sustaining NV17 training operations and objectives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman)

Northern Viper tests Team Misawa’s power projection hub readiness

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Zachary Sasman, a Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 462 crew chief, looks out of a window to visually assist in landing a CH-53E Super Stallion near Chitose Air Base, Japan, Aug. 16, 2017. The HMH-462, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, is forward deployed under the unit deployment program with 1st MAW, based in Okinawa, Japan, for training purposes. Misawa acts as a centralized hub if a contingency occurred in the Indo-Asia- Pacific region, enabling the wing to uphold its “fight tonight” posture and assist other units in the same. The exercise allowed Allied forces to increase combined arms proficiency in both ground and aviation capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Northern Viper tests Team Misawa’s power projection hub readiness

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Garrett Mills, a Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 462 crew chief, speaks with another crew chief during a delivery operation at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 16, 2017. Misawa AB supported more than 500 Marines who temporarily deployed to the base in order to train and reinforce their mission tactics for future tasks during Northern Viper 17. The HMH-462, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, is forward deployed under the unit deployment program with 1st MAW, based in Okinawa, Japan, for training purposes. NV17 exercised U.S. and Japan’s interoperability as a combined, joint defense force while reducing the overall burden on the people of Okinawa by relocating training to mainland Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Northern Viper tests Team Misawa’s power projection hub readiness

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Garrett Mills, a Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 462 crew chief, waits on a CH- 53E Super Stallion at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 16, 2017. The HMH-462, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, is forward deployed under the unit deployment program with 1st MAW, based in Okinawa, Japan, for exercise purposes. If a contingency arises, Misawa AB would serve as central hub for units in the Indo-Asia- Pacific theater to relocate and receive support from the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Northern Viper tests Team Misawa’s power projection hub readiness

U.S. Navy Lt. Jim Curty, a Marine Aircraft Group 36, Headquarters deputy group chaplain, waits to be called to a CH-53E Super Stallion at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 16, 2017. Curty visited a forward air refuel point as a wellness check for U.S. Marine Corps personnel working in the area in support of exercise Northern Viper 17. Misawa AB’s geographic location and flexibility allows the wing to maintain its “fight tonight” stance, while aiding additional units to integrate and project power at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Northern Viper tests Team Misawa’s power projection hub readiness

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Sara Crump, a CH-53E Super Stallion crew chief, performs a preflight check at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Aug. 16, 2017. The CH-53 is a heavy lift helicopter capable of lifting more than 22 tons. The CH-53s worked with Misawa AB to use Draughon Range for external lifting rehearsal, which is essential for expedited cargo and personnel transportation to carry out missions elsewhere. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Northern Viper tests Team Misawa’s power projection hub readiness

A U.S. Marine Corps pilot and crew chief, both with Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 462, talk as they transport personnel and supplies, near Chitose Air Base, Japan, Aug. 16, 2017. Misawa AB has the ability to support and receive multiple units in order to quickly respond to contingency operations. The HMH- 462, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, is forward deployed under the unit deployment program with 1st MAW, based in Okinawa, Japan, for training purposes. The transport took place during Northern Viper 17, an exercise designed to enhance the collective defense capability of the U.S. and Japan security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

Northern Viper tests Team Misawa’s power projection hub readiness

U.S. Marines begin refueling operations near Chitose Air Base, Japan, Aug. 16, 2017. Misawa Air Base 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuel management flight provided fuel to various units who temporarily deployed to the base, enabling continuous presence in the Indo-Asia- Pacific region. The HMH-462, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, is forward deployed under the unit deployment program with 1st MAW, based in Okinawa, Japan, for training purposes. Exercise opportunities such as NV17 enhance the U.S. and Japan Alliance and increase its ability to maintain regional peace and security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

Military exercises bring teams’ strengths and weaknesses to light, providing vital feedback used to ultimately overcome challenges and stretch flexibility while executing the mission.

Exercise Northern Viper 17 did just that throughout the month of August, testing Team Misawa’s support readiness by bringing in more than 500 Marines and multiple airframes. The installation packs the capability to transform into a centralized hub for units to forward deploy, provide infrastructure for mobility and support medical care for mass injuries.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Molly O’Malley, the Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron 426 assistant operations officer with the Marine Air Group 36, 3rd Marine Air Wing, currently forward deployed under the unit deployment program with the 1st Marine Air Wing, said Misawa is geographically the best area because it is close to their training location.

“It allows us to transit from here to the training area in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan, with enough fuel to get the mission done,” O’Malley continued.

Throughout the past month, Team Misawa provided everything the sister service needed in order to have a successful training experience, including use of Draughon Range.

“Draughon Range was a selling point for us,” said O’Malley. “It’s nice to get to work on our tactical flights and heavy external lifting. With the range, we also have the ability to do aerial gunnery. These are all essential skillsets we need to continuously work on to complete our missions.”

The 35th Operations Group weren’t the only ones supporting additional troops and assets on top of normal operations, which include being an active runway for Misawa Airport, facilitating incoming and outgoing cargo movement with the Air Mobility Command and running daily sorties for the 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons. The 35th Medical Group worked to ensure they are prepared to play their part in mission readiness.

“Familiarity with the battlefront is crucial to the success of our mission,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Matthew Wilson, the 35th Medical Operations Support Squadron readiness officer. “In a contingency, Misawa Air Base would become a medical hub for all casualties or patients, as we would take in a significant amount of the patient load from across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”

Wilson added along with Misawa’s ability to accommodate mass injured personnel, they also have other means of making the 35th Medical Group a more pliable piece of the mission.

“Most of what makes our position unique is that we deploy in place, which allows us to be ready with little to no notice,” Wilson said. “Many of our capabilities are designed to support the deliberate expansion of a 22-bed hospital in steady state operations to that of nearly a 600-bed joint operation on Misawa Air Base in a matter of days.”

Although they are responsible for Misawa Air Base U.S. personnel and their families, the 35th MDG Airmen care for all additional patients requiring medical assistance.

“Included with our temporary Marine personnel, any military member who sets foot on this base has access to our medical facility and its services,” Wilson assured. “We built a strong reputation for taking care of our people and that won't stop because of a different uniform being present on base. At the 35th MDG, we operate on a ‘one team, one fight’ mentality and we display it every day through the level of care delivered to every person who walks through our doors.”

Misawa’s 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight flexed its muscle as well for the Marine brothers and sisters visiting the base.

“Not including the Japan Air Self-Defense Force aircraft, we take care of everything fuel-related that hits the ground here,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Zachariah Coe, the 35th LRS fuels service center NCO in charge. “We provided more than 27,000 gallons of fuel for the Marines’ aircraft alone.”

They sent assets such as R-11 refueling trucks to the forward arming refueling point at Chitose Air Base, Japan, and can fuel various aircraft going in and out of the location for the training exercise.

“We’re getting face time with Japanese ground units and the U.S. Air Force, and I think communication is vital while working together to accomplish the mission, whether real world or training,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Sidney Schlosser, an HMH-462 flight equipment officer in charge. “Being able to shake hands, talk to each other and fully integrate with one another to accomplish the same goal is a rare exercise, which is why exercises like NV17 are essential to mission flow.”

Although Misawa is not currently in a contingency situation, anything can change at a moment’s notice, and U.S. Air Force Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th Fighter Wing commander, assured Team Misawa will be ready due to constant rehearsal through exercises such as NV17.

 

“The wing is 'running' now in regards to our annual training plan--it is meant to push our limits," Jobe said. "Exercises like Northern Viper challenge us in flexibility and readiness so we can secure large force mission objectives if needed in the future, protecting our allies and sustaining peace in this region for generations to come."

 

“Fight tonight,” the mantra heard throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific theater, resonates through Team Misawa, and whether it’s medical personnel prepping their facility for a mass casualty incident or operations teams coordinating with F-16 Fighting Falcons to share the runway for incoming, forward-deploying units, the wing upholds its end in providing as much assistance as needed for the security of the U.S. and its allies’ objectives.