Trilateral Co-Op tour held at Yokota Air Base

  • Published
  • By Airman Jarrett Smith
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, U.S. military, and Australian Army visited Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 17, 2022, as part of a trilateral Cooperative-Work Program (Co-Op) tour held at Camp Zama, Japan.

The tour is designed to improve trilateral relations, enhance English comprehensive skills and increase JGSDF soldiers’ understanding of the U.S. Forces in Japan mission.

“The Japan Self Defense Force gets a lot of tips about leadership and combat experience through Soldiers and Airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dallas Benavides, 374th Communications Squadron electrical power production craftsman. “Each U.S. soldier or Airmen gets partnered up with a JGSDF soldier, so we also learn a lot about what they do.”

Co-Op tour participants were able to tour a C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron, visit and learn about the United Nations Command-Rear, and get a first-hand look at the American Forces Network Tokyo mission during the event.

“This program is great,” said JGSDF Sgt. Ryo Ogura, 1st Infantry Regiment sniper, Camp Nerima, Japan. “We can learn about the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines and their culture. JGSDF focuses on defending ground territory, but the U.S. Air Force is deploying worldwide. I have learned a lot of things about the U.S. Air Force from this tour.”

This is the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that Australian Army soldiers were able to participate in this event. Co-Op tours are held once a quarter to strengthen the JGSDF’s ability to integrate with U.S. forces and other partners and allies throughout the region to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.