Misawa Airman receives JAAGA award

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Timothy Moore
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

For the first time in three years, the Japan-America Air Force Goodwill Association (JAAGA) was able to recognize the 2022 award recipients in person during a ceremony at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Feb. 7, 2023.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ashley Wyer, 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of Inbound Cargo, received the honor of being named Misawa’s 25th JAAGA Award winner.

“I feel humbled, blessed, and honored to receive such a prestigious award,” said Wyer. “This award is important to be because I have the opportunity to help build a stronger partnership between the U.S. and our Japanese counterparts.”

Established in 1996, the mission of the JAAGA is to promote friendship and mutual understanding between Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and U.S. Air Force members. The award recognizes members for their significant and recognizable contributions to the U.S. and Japan alliance.

“(SSgt Wyer) has gone above and beyond to further cultivate the bilateral relationship we share with our host nation partners in Koku-jieitai,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Timothy Murphy, 35th Fighter Wing vice commander. “Her integration with Koku-jieitai includes multiple engagements which enhanced our working relationship and clearly demonstrates her commitment to serving as a mission enabler for the U.S. and Japanese Airmen.”

Amongst her accomplishments that earned her the award, Wyer is particularly proud to have the opportunity to collaborate with Northrup Grumman and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to expedite and execute a logistics support plan which facilitated the bed-down of $500 million worth of equipment. This helped to establish Japan’s first RQ-4B Global Hawk surveillance drone unit, providing Japan with the capability to have persistent, high-altitude surveillance of the Indo-Pacific region.

Wyer also liaised with the government of Japan to support the recovery of three downed aircraft at Japanese commercial air terminals. As the leader of a four-member team, her efforts enabled the mobilization of 50 tons of equipment to the affected air terminals, allowing the recovery team to provide expedient repairs to the aircraft and return the air terminals back to normal operating status within 24 hours of the incident.

“I am thankful to have leadership, my fellow NCOs and my Airmen for their continuous support,” Wyer said. “Without their help, this award would not be possible. This award is also for them.”

Wyer also organized a cargo deployment preparation course, where she enhanced JASDF logistics capabilities by instructing seven JASDF personnel on the proper techniques to inspect, prepare and appropriately administer center-of-balance configurations for movement on U.S.-owned aircraft and vessels.

“She has truly earned the JAAGA award for her outstanding contributions to strengthening our partnership,” said Murphy.