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Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

Tek, 374th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, bites a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Security Guard Squadron handler during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. The suit allows the dog to practice subduing suspects without endangering the decoy, providing a safe training environment for both dog and handler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

374th Security Forces Squadron military working dog teams pose for a photo during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. This was the first time the 374th SFS MWD participated in the air show. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force aerobatic team, Blue Impulse, leaves smoke-trails in the sky during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. Blue Impulse uses the smoke-trails to sketch artistic patterns to wow audiences at air shows throughout Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick Grandison, 374th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, restrains his dog,Tek, during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. Grandison and Tek have been a working MWD team for two months, utilizing their patrol and explosives detection skillsets to defend the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

Members from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Security Guard Squadron security dog handlers and their dog perform a hidden person search for the crowd during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. The demonstration allowed JASDF and 374 SFS MWD to showcase all their hard work and training they use in the defense of their respective installations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Seth Shannon, 374th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, walks as his partner Riko, weaves through his legs during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. As part of the MWD demonstration, teams showcased obedience training, maneuverability, and bite work. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

A Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Security Guard Squadron security dog handler and his dog perform an area search for the crowd during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. The handlers and their MWD’s work side-by-side daily to provide base security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Seth Shannon, 374th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and his partner Riko, run in front of spectators during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. Shannon and Riko have been working as a team for six months, utilizing their patrol and explosives detection skillsets to defend the installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show

The 374th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handlers and their dogs perform a bite demonstration during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. The suit allows the dog to practice subduing suspects without endangering the decoy, providing a safe training environment for both dog and handler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick Grandison, 374th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, and his partner Tek, wave to the crowd after the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. The air show played host to over 125,000 people of all ages. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

Yokota first for MWDs at Iruma Air Show
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Members from both the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force Security Guard Squadron and the 374th Security Forces Squadron military dog teams pose for a photo after the MWD demonstration during the annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019. The bilateral demonstration allowed the 374th SFS to support the JASDF handlers at a JASDF installation for the first time, showcasing the ever developing partnership between the two nation’s canine units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E Bolfing)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan --

Military working dog (MWD) teams from the 374th Security Forces Squadron out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, participated in a bilateral MWD demonstration with Japanese Air Self-Defense Forces Security Guard Squadron security dog team during the 51st annual air show at Iruma Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2019.

The air show played host to over 125,000 people and featured a bilateral canine demonstration as an event alongside the traditional aerial acrobatics common at most shows.

“The purpose of the demonstration was to showcase the bilateral relationship that we have with the JASDF,” said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Clark, 374th SFS MWD kennel master. “It allowed us to demonstrate some of the U.S. Air Force capabilities alongside our counterparts, as well as, build the comradery between us.”

The air show not only showed the capabilities and close relationship of both handlers and dogs, but also the joint training between both the 374th SFS and JASDF MWD teams that has occurred over the years.

“Most of their tactics and procedures have been taught by us,” said Staff Sgt. Seth Shannon, 374th SFS MWD handler. “Everything the JASDF displayed during the demonstration were things they trained on with us at our kennel.

“They come to Yokota every month so I know most of the guys that were working at the air show. It was great to hang out with them but the real treat was seeing how their training has progressed.”

This was the first time spectators witnessed the bilateral K9 demonstration at the Iruma air show, marking a new experience for all to enjoy.

“The roles are kind of reversing now,” said Clark. “The outcome of all the training we have done with JASDF is now we are going to their bases to support them as opposed to them just coming to ours to support us. It’s great to see how all that training we have done here at Yokota with the JASDF now translates into them being able to support their own home station missions.”

It is that transition from teacher and student to peers in the MWD community that has allowed the relationship between the U.S. and Japanese forces to reach a new level.

“It really is a friendship,” said Clark. “Coming together as a K9 family to do something amazing and demonstrate everybody’s capabilities, not just JASDF or AF but a joint capability of what we built together. That and showcasing that capability for a 125,000 people is an incredible feeling.

“It was amazing being there. Not only are we working counterparts, but we really consider them friends now after working and training with them for the last two to three years consecutively. We were there on official business but the relationship we have with our JASDF counterparts, it was like hanging out with your friends all day. Just training dogs, trading ideas and enjoying the experience. It was a great time.”