by Senior Airman Marcus Morris
18th Wing Public Affairs
12/13/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The
U.S. and Japanese military forces have been working together for more
than half a century, and one way they have kept their bonds strong is
through an annual joint Senior Enlisted Leaders' Conference.
While it is usually held in Tokyo, Japan, this year Okinawa military took the reins and hosted the event.
"This was the first time the annual bilateral SEL conference was able to
be hosted in Okinawa," said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Joseph
Montgomery, 353rd Special Operations Group command chief. "The
conference increases coordination and communication between the U.S. and
Japanese forces by allowing us to share mission operations and better
understand one another."
During the three-day conference American and Japanese senior enlisted
leaders learned how the Japanese and U.S. forces are trained, revealing
similarities in the way each other conducted international operations.
They also demonstrated to each other their war and peacetime procedures,
such as their combat medical skills, local security procedures and
gun-line drills and rescue operations.
"The conference allows the U.S. and Japanese forces to get to know each
other and interact more smoothly as a joint force," said Japan Joint
Staff Warrant Officer Mitsunori Watanabe, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the
Chief of Joint Staff. "It also allows us to teach our leaders and
subordinates how the military forces act with each other to better work
"We are grateful for the time shared with our Japanese counterparts,"
said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. James Laurent, 5th Air Force
command chief. "We look forward to next year's joint SEL conference."