Building Bilateral Capabilities and Readiness Through Rapid Runway Repair

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Antwain Hanks
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 18th Civil Engineer Group from Kadena Air Base and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) members assigned to the Western Air Civil Engineer group operated side-by-side during a live-fire and rapid airfield damage repair team exercise at Draughon Range near Misawa Air Base, Japan, July 15-20, 2023.

The exercise ignited with JASDF explosive ordnance disposal members using explosives to create more than 70 craters and holes, simulating damage that would occur during an adversary attack on an airfield. After the simulated attacks, engineers from both nations were tested while they rapidly worked together to assess the damage and repair the airfield for use by allied combat aircraft.

Participants at the bilateral training exchanged knowledge, best practices, and different procedures, ensuring they were ready to repair battlefield damage together during real-world contingencies.

Rapid Airfield Damage Repair training enhances bilateral interoperability while ensuring that both nations can cooperatively re-establish a safe and operational runway, which is vital to maintain offensive and defensive capabilities together.

“This exercise is critically important to conduct with our partners,” said 2nd Lt. Adam Magistro, 718th Civil Engineer Squadron exercise officer in charge. “As partners, we sometimes share bases, runways, and even facilities. We must know how to work together with our partners as fast and efficiently as possible to get air power into the skies.”

The U.S-Japan security alliance was forged through more than 50 years of cooperation and commitment to protect shared interests, including the defense of Japan and a free and open Indo-Pacific region. 

“We can’t let off; We have to keep pressing forward,” expressed Capt. Kasey Clinard, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight commander. “This was my first year participating in this live fire exercise. I hope to see our forces grow together and become more interoperable and integrated as we push forward.”