Monday, December 16, 2013

Joint U.S., Japanese senior enlisted leaders visit Okinawa

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 together."

"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."

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