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U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Cole Moore, a powerline mechanic with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232, secures storage on an F/A-18C Hornet at JASDF Hyakuri Air Base, Japan, July 24, 2017. Maintenance keeps aircraft in a constant state of preparedness to enhance operational readiness and mission accomplishment. This is the first time that VMFA-232 has been to JASDF Hyakuri Air Base, which gave the local Japanese forces the ability to simulate air-to-air maneuvers with dissimilar aircraft. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Mason Roy)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Mason Roy

VMFA-232 returns to Iwakuni

26 Jul 2017 | Lance Cpl. Mason Roy 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 completed their training as part of the Aviation Training Relocation program at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Hyakuri Air Base, Japan, July 21, 2017.

The 14-day ATR was an opportunity to increase operational readiness and interoperability between the U.S. and Japanese forces. It also reduces the overall noise impact across Japan by dispersing bilateral jet-fighter training of U.S. forces across a multitude of different JASDF bases.

“The purpose of ATRs is to train with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Douglas Miller, commanding officer of VMFA-232. “It allows our Marines to get familiar with our Japanese counterparts just in case we have to execute a real-world scenario.”

During the training, VMFA-232 conducted “Red” and “Blue” simulated jet-fighter training by using basic fighter maneuvers, section-engaged maneuvers, active air defense and air interdictions.

“This is a routine rehearsal with dissimilar aircraft and dissimilar languages,” said Miller. “The JASDF performance on the ground and in the air is one of the best I’ve seen over my 25-year career.”

By conducting this training, VMFA-232 and the JASDF were able to establish an understanding of each other’s fighting tactics, allowing both sides to engage in unfamiliar, simulated, air-to-air combat, in order to increase operational readiness.

“If a scenario were to arise, having worked and flown together helps increase our operational readiness.” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Bryan Franzen, operations officer with VMFA-232.

VMFA-232 hopes to work with Japanese forces in the future in order to further foster host-nation partnerships, which in turn forms a more capable alliance and everlasting friendships.

“There’s nothing I like to see more than our Marines and our Japanese counterparts sharing a soda or eating at the dining facility,” said Miller. “Watching them bond with the Japanese is my favorite part of this ATR.”

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