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Yokota participates in multilateral New Year’s Jump exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Hannah Bean
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A multilateral collaboration of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, British army, Australian army, and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members conducted an annual New Year’s Jump exercise at Camp Narashino, Chiba, Japan, Jan. 8, 2023.

Roughly 400 paratroopers participated in the event jumping from three USAF C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron, one C-130H Hercules and one C-2 Greyhound assigned to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

“The New Year’s Jump is the first big event of the year hosted by JGSDF,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Kevin Mendez, 36th Airlift Squadron pilot. “Doing this event has been a longstanding tradition with our allied partners to welcome the new year in the spirit of continued safe operations.”

This event marks a return to a diverse representation of forces participating since the COVID-19 pandemic began, allowing a renewal in partnerships while celebrating the first jump of the year with allies.

“This New Year’s jump event was an opportunity to learn from each other and improve together with our partner nations,” said U.S. Army Col. Christopher Ward, Chief of Staff, 11th Airborne Division. “The true value of what we did here today in not only conducting a multilateral jump to celebrate the New Year, but to also increase our ability to conduct better airborne operations in a joint environment forward in the Pacific Theater. Events like this and others builds readiness.”

Teamwork is a military strength at all levels, from small teams to large scale joint force operations, and the annual NYJ exercise is a commitment to maintaining flexible allied interoperability. This display of strength and capability acts as a deterrent to peer adversaries, and as a promise to the lasting friendship of partner forces.

“Our goal is to fortify our interoperability with our international allies through these jumps,” Mendez said. “Integration events like this help enhance interoperability between the U.S. and Japan Self-Defense Forces in the event of a real-world contingency.”

The New Year’s Jumps kick off a series of bilateral training exercises for Team Yokota, which have long since aimed to increase the combat readiness and friendships between the U.S. and its international partners.