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Japanese aircrew learn advanced airlift tactics in Missouri

by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
139th Airlift Wing

12/7/2012 - ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AFNS) -- A sky blue military aircraft with red Japanese flag markings is an odd sight in the Midwest.

Yet, Airmen at the Missouri Air National Guard training center here are used to such foreign sights.

The Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center at the 139th Airlift Wing instructs service members from other nations on the Air Force's latest mobility tactics, and on Dec. 6, that included service members from Japan.

'We are shaking hands as well as teaching at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, and I think that really helps the United States,' said Col. Edward Black, the training center commander.

The center works with the Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs to offer the course to international students, who pay tuition to attend.

Twenty-five Japanese aircrew officers and aircraft maintenance specialists flew their C-130 Hercules here for the AATTC's Combat Aircrew Tactics Studies Course this week.

'I have come to improve the abilities of the Japan Air Self Defense Course and to learn the latest tactics of the United States Air Force,' said Japan Maj. Takehide Hayase, a command pilot for the 401st Tactical Airlift Squadron, Komaki Air Base, Japan.

The two-week course teaches advanced airlift tactics to mobility air force members through classroom instruction and flying.

'It is a wonderful place, there are many great instructors who have experience in this area, it is perfect environment for this type of tactical training,' said Hayase.

About 30 percent of students coming through the course are international students from 17 nations, and more nations are coming, said Black.

For Royal Netherlands air force Maj. Mark Brouwer, 336th Tactical Airlift Squadron, it's his fifth time attending. He flew here this time to escort 14 aircrew and maintenance personnel.

There are many countries using C-130s, he said. With a decade of contingency operations in Afghanistan there's been a highlight on their tactical use.

'A lot of different countries come up with a lot of solutions,' he said. 'It's nice to see what other countries came up with here.'

Other benefits here include air space and flying environments as well as an experienced cadre, said Brouwer.

International aircraft that land at the Guard base are a regular sight, said Black. He admitted that the sky blue C-130 from Japan did get some attention this week when it parked among the other gray military aircraft.

About half-dozen additional tactical flying courses are held here with multiple courses beginning each month and with additional training conducted at Libby Army Airfield, Ariz.

More than 100 active duty, Reserve Command, Air Guard and international students were taking tactics courses here just this week, said officials.

The Center also hosts international studies and helps lead the airlift community in tactics and electronic warfare development.

Black said that 'building partnership capacity' here through the Department of Defense aids the nation during international conflicts and humanitarian actions as well as in other cooperation on the international arena.

'Even from little St. Joseph, Missouri, we are building partnership capacity across the globe,' said Black.

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