Japanese train on U.S. equipment
April 10, 2009
NAVAL AIR FACILITY, Misawa — Before the 12 members of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Detachment 44 can go to Hawaii for this summer’s Rim of the Pacific exercise, they’ll need certification to work on U.S. military equipment.
The multinational military exercise is the world’s largest.
To help them gain the needed accreditation, the dozen are running through an accelerated licensing course hosted by the U.S. Navy’s Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Detachment’s 900 Division, according to Chief Petty Officer Roland Victa, division head.
Victa said the detachment, which belongs to the U.S. Navy’s Commander, Fleet Air Western Pacific, is facilitating course instruction thanks largely to the division’s Japanese employees.
The "biggest hurdle" is the translation, Victa said, and it’s up to workers like Toshio Murakami, a mechanic foreman with nearly 30 years on the job, to help clarify support-equipment details.
Petty Officer 1st Class James Sherrill, division lead petty officer, said the Japanese troops will be licensed on 10 pieces of machinery, including tugs, lifts and "basically anything that supports a plane." The Japanese use similar equipment, he said, so the learning curve is small.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Rolando Haluag, the command’s support-equipment licensing instructor, said the students will spend 10 days attending classes and will then work with the equipment before they graduate April 17.