Tuesday, May 28, 2013

SFS joins Japanese defense forces in training exercise

by Airman 1st Class Kaleb Snay
35th Fighter Wing public affairs

5/23/2013 - MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan  -- Airmen from the 35th Security Forces Squadron and Japan Air Self-Defense Force, along with the soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, 9th Division, 5th Infantry Regiment, Aomori, participated in the Guard and Protect Exercise here, May 19-22.

"The annual exercise is the result of a bilateral training agreement, between the United States and Japanese governments, which states during high threat situations in the country, JGSDF and JASDF will unite efforts with U.S installations," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Helguero, 35 SFS Exercise Evaluation Team inspector. "It basically helps us unify how we do security."

With allied forces training together, teamwork and efficiency are heightened as the bonds between both the Japanese and U.S. forces are strengthened.

"This is the fifth year of the Guard and Protect Exercise and every year we've become more fluid with security because of how well we work together," said Helguero. "The exercise allows us to communicate together and learn each other's tactics so we can better utilize our forces."

Various scenarios, staged by U.S. Airmen, were set up in several locations across Misawa Air Base. Airmen, posing as enemy forces or ordinary civilians, tried to breach base perimeters to test security members attention to detail. Using realistic threats, the bilateral defenders go through several scenarios.

"Typical scenarios we set up are people trying to bring toxic materials or Improvised Explosive Devices on base," Helguero added. "Sometimes we'd have a simulated special forces group try to infiltrate. We basically try and keep everyone on their toes watching for anything suspicious."

Using these methods, evaluators are able to determine what weaknesses and strengths they have and can alter training to better prepare troops.

"Exercises are meant highlight vulnerabilities and to build on strengths," said Master Sgt. Justin Crockett, 35 SFS EET inspector. "We always try to improve on the areas where we were deficient previous years."

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