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U.S., Japan Sharpen Skills During Keen Sword 21

A CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron conducts air support for U.S. Army Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Team,

A CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron conducts air support for U.S. Army Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Team, during Keen Sword 21 at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, Nov. 4, 2020. Approximately 9,000 U.S. service members from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force will conduct training with their Japan Self-Defense Force counterparts from military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa prefecture, and their surrounding territorial waters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing)

Members with the 320th Special Tactics Squadron and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) watch as their teammates are hoisted into a CV-22 Osprey

Members with the 320th Special Tactics Squadron and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) watch as their teammates are hoisted into a CV-22 Osprey, during a fast rope and hoist training as part of exercise Keen Sword 21, at the Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2020. Units from the 374th Airlift Wing and from the 353rd Special Operations Group accomplished a variety of missions alongside their Japan Self-Defense Force and joint partners across the Kanto Plains, allowing the enhancement of bilateral operations between the U.S. and Japan. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding)

Members of the 320th Special Tactics Squadron and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) descend from a CV-22 Osprey during a fast rope and hoist training

Members of the 320th Special Tactics Squadron and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) descend from a CV-22 Osprey during a fast rope and hoist training as part of exercise Keen Sword 21, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2020. Units from the 374th Airlift Wing, and from the 353rd Special Operations Group accomplished a variety of missions alongside their JSDF and joint partners across the Kanto Plains, allowing the enhancement of bilateral operations between the U.S. and Japan. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding)

U.S. Military, Japan Self-Defense Force leadership and other service members discuss mission operations

U.S. Military, Japan Self-Defense Force leadership and other service members discuss mission operations on a C-17 Globemaster III, assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron out of Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, during Keen Sword 21, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2020. Keen Sword is a training opportunity between JSDF and the U.S. military across a variety of scenarios, allowing the enhancement of interoperability of U.S. and Japanese forces. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding)

A Japan Self-Defense Forces member, center left, and a 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airman, center right, push a containerized delivery system bundle onto a C-130J Super Hercules

A Japan Self-Defense Forces member, center left, and a 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airman, center right, push a containerized delivery system bundle onto a C-130J Super Hercules during Keen Sword 21, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Oct. 30, 2020. Keen Sword is a training opportunity between JSDF and the U.S. military across a variety of scenarios, allowing the enhancement of interoperability of U.S. and Japanese forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding)

Staff Sgt. Vincenzo Gallegos, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, retrieves a parachute line during a cargo drop during Keen Sword 21

Staff Sgt. Vincenzo Gallegos, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, retrieves a parachute line during a cargo drop during Keen Sword 21, at the Ojojihara Training Area, Japan, Oct. 30, 2020. KS21 is a joint, bilateral, biennial field-training exercise involving U.S. military and Japan Self-Defense Force personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability of the Japan-U.S. alliance. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding)

Japan Self-Defense Force containerized delivery system bundles wait to be loaded

Japan Self-Defense Force containerized delivery system bundles wait to be loaded onto a C-130J Super Hercules during Keen Sword 21, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Oct. 30, 2020. KS21 is a training opportunity between JSDF and the U.S. military across a variety of scenarios, allowing the enhancement of interoperability of U.S. and Japanese forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding)

A CV-22 Osprey, assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Group, arrives at a landing zone during a search and rescue training as part of exercise Keen Sword 21

A CV-22 Osprey, assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Group, arrives at a landing zone during a search and rescue training as part of exercise Keen Sword 21, at the Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, Oct. 29, 2020. U.S. service members from the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force conducted training with their Japan Self-Defense Force counterparts from military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa prefecture, and their surrounding territorial waters. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding)

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Springer, 320th Special Tactics Squadron independent duty medical technician, applies a simulated wound

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Springer, 320th Special Tactics Squadron independent duty medical technician, applies a simulated wound onto Senior Airman Chris Luney, 753rd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron journeyman, left, during a search and rescue training as part of exercise Keen Sword 21, at the Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, Oct. 29, 2020. KS21 is designed to enhance Japan and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability while strengthening bilateral relationships and demonstrating U.S. resolve to support the security interests of allies and partners in the region. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan --

Units from the 374th Airlift Wing, and from the 353rd Special Operations Group accomplished a variety of missions alongside their JSDF and joint partners across the Kanto Plains, allowing the enhancement of bilateral operations between the U.S. and Japan.

“As we develop new and better ways to operate and integrate, exercises like this clearly demonstrate the growing strength of the U.S.-Japan Alliance,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, U.S. Forces Japan commander, said. “In spite of the immense global impact from COVID, the U.S.-Japan Alliance did not falter and we have remained ready to fight and win.”

Continuing to foster that alliance takes commitment and teamwork. For the Airmen assigned to the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron, the 36th Airlift Squadron and the 730th Air Mobility Squadron, working harmoniously with their Japanese counterparts led to the successful completion operations like mission planning, personnel jumps, and cargo inspections, uploads, and air drops.

“The importance of doing cargo loading and air drops in these kinds of exercises, is to increase the combat readiness between us and our host nation,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Baerga, 374th LRS Combat Mobility Flight supervisor. “So, if anything ever happens real world, we should be able to work swiftly, quickly and accurately to put whatever we need on these aircraft and deliver them wherever we may need them.”

KS21 also comprised of unilateral training between the 353rd Special Operations Support Squadron, the 753rd Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the 21st Special Operations Squadron and the 320th Special Tactics Squadron, during which personnel conducted a nighttime search and rescue at the Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji and a fast rope and hoist training at Yokota.

Metal barrels simulated an aircraft having had to make an emergency landing in the woods, while 753rd SOAMXS Airmen played injured and isolated personnel as part of the SAR scenario. The STS team used land navigation techniques to locate the IP and get them securely to the waiting CV-22 Osprey.

“Keen Sword gives the SOG the ability to practice search and rescue and combat search and rescue on a larger scale,” said Tech. Sgt. Sean Moore, 353rd SOSS survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist. “We have conventional Air Force assets that are also participating in KS, and that gives us an entire architecture of aircraft that can be over head.”

This was the first time Special Operations Forces were integrated in this exercise. The 353rd Special Operations group, with units at both Yokota and Kadena AB, conducted joint training with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in addition to observing training with JSDF partners.

KS21 has ensured the U.S.-Japan alliance continues to serve as the foundation for regional peace and security in the Indo-Pacific, for the past 60 years.

“While taking part in Keen Sword, we are sharpening our skills as a military entity, to ensure that whenever we need to be lethal, we are ready,” Baerga said.