USFJ hosts air mobility conference at Yokota with Japan, Australia
May 21, 2007
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The United States, Japan and Australia compared military equipment and talked about sharpening disaster-relief efforts in the region during a two-day conference that ended Friday.
The Pacific Global Air Mobility Seminar, hosted by U.S. Forces Japan and held at Yokota, featured discussions on humanitarian assistance and a static display of the Royal Australian air force’s first C-17, flown in from California with only 20 hours on it. More than 100 officials from the three countries attended.
“We’re learning about each other’s capabilities and how we can best work together in the future on disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes,” said Maj. Leo Kosinski, the Japan country director at the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “All three of us would be able to get supplies to people much faster and more efficiently.”
The sessions could lead to more exercises and exchanges for U.S. troops, including chances to train in Australia, he added.
The ability to open up airfields and bases in austere locations is critical to disaster relief, said Lt. Col. Shawn Farrow, a global mobility squadron commander with the 570th Contingency Response Group out of Travis Air Force Base, Calif.
It’s why the service stood up a new outfit dedicated to emergency response two years ago, he added.
“We have a 12-hour mission to go out and set up,” Farrow said. “We’re the ‘dial 911’ organization of the Air Force … In an era when the Air Force is downsizing, the fact they created two brand new wings tells you something about the importance.
“Japan and Australia have the aircraft. They need to know we’ll be on the ground to open up an air base.”
Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, the USFJ and 5th Air Force commander, said the three nations realize the Pacific isn’t “an inherently tranquil part of the world.”
“Air mobility is critical to any regional peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief scenario,” he said.”