U.S., Koku-Jieitai engineers practice rapid runway repair at Yokota

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Juan Torres
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force and Koku-Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) civil engineers repaired concrete damage side-by-side in a Rapid Airfield Damage Repair exercise on Yokota Air Base, Japan, Dec. 2.

Bilateral exercises like these allow the two nations to understand each other’s processes and integrate seamlessly when needed.

“We worked alongside JASDF engineers to find where our RADR processes are different,” said Maj. William D. Calkins, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron operations flight commander. “We operated slower than normal to ensure our Japanese counterparts saw every step in detail and could ask questions.”

RADR is a technique used to quickly repair craters in a runway, taxiway or apron after an enemy attack. The process consists of marking the distress the concrete has endured, cutting the damage, removing debris, filling the crater, compacting the area and capping with fresh concrete. This speedy recovery is essential for continuing to launch aircraft after a runway has sustained damage.

RADR in a bilateral environment however, comes with the additional challenges of language barriers and tactical differences. This exercise aimed to enhance interoperability and preparedness between the two nations to effectively respond to real-world contingencies despite those challenges.

“We are excited to learn from one another,” said Calkins. “They bring a wealth of knowledge with their techniques and procedures. We cannot thank the JASDF enough for their willingness to join us whenever they can in order to strengthen our alliance.”