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Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan


Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MCAS Iwakuni is a mission-ready air station, capable of providing continuous base-operating support for tenant organizations and follow-on U.S. and allied forces during training, combat or contingency (HA/DR) operations throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
Vikings take to sky with JASDF in bilateral training

By Lance Cpl. Chris Kutlesa | | October 28, 2010

Japanese jets attack Marines in F/A-18s. They swerve in the air dodging and diving. It looks like they are counteracting an attack, but in actuality their attacking is just acting.

Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225 participated in a weeklong exercise with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force in Misawa, Japan, starting Oct. 18.

VMFA(AW)-225 recently executed orders to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, in support of the Marine Corps Unit Deployment Program.

During its six-month deployment, the squadron is scheduled to participate in various exercises throughout Asia.

The exercise in Misawa was geared toward building relations between VMFA(AW)-225 and the JASDF.

“We are trying to improve the communication barrier,” said Capt. Lamar J. Harris, the public affairs officer and pilot ofVMFA(AW)-225. “If anything was to happen, we would be working together, so it is important to know that we can communicate on a tactical level.”

Improving communication barriers between the Japanese and U.S. forces is not only important for tactical procedures but also to reduce the difference caused by the language barrier.

“One of our biggest barriers in the air is the language barrier,” said Capt. Mick Pavis, assistant operations officer for VMFA(AW)-225. “The fact that they aviate to their second language is extremely impressive but is something that can always be worked on. With someone who is not a native English speaker, you kind of have to tailor the way you talk, slow down, be more deliberate to make that communication more effective.”

In addition to communications, the exercise was also aimed at providing logistical training.

“For a lot of our younger guys, this is the first time that they have had any experience ever working with a different country’s service,” said Pavis.

Each training day, the two forces conducted operation briefings in which each party expressed the tactical maneuvers they wanted to execute.

Both squadrons focused on basic air-to-air engagements, which consisted of basic fighting maneuvers.

The squadrons also practiced aerial interceptions, primarily using radars for objects beyond aerial range.

For training purposes, each squadron would switch roles as the adversary and afterward would critique each other’s performance.

“It has been pretty even between us,” said Pavis. “I think one of the great things about military aviation is that everyone learns something every flight. It doesn’t matter if you have 200 hours in your aircraft or 2,000; every flight you are going to learn something new and you are going to see something, that maybe you haven’t seen before or a better way to do something, and that’s the point of why we do this training, to become better than the day we were before.”

In September, VMFA(AW)-225 participated in exercises in Guam, and is scheduled to train with the U. S. Air Force in the following months.