Airborne 23: where US airlift meets Japan tactical insertion

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

The 374th Airlift Wing worked alongside Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members, assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade, and U.S. Army paratroopers, assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group from Kadena Air Base, Japan, in support of Airborne 23, Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.

The annual Airborne 23 training is the largest static-line paratrooper jump and cargo drop training maneuver between the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and JGSDF, which aims to improve coordination and operational efficiency between partner forces.

"The partnership and teamwork between our Yokota Airmen, the U.S. Army, and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force are indispensable to preserving the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific,” said Col. Andrew Roddan, 374th AW commander. “Both of our nations are committed to that peace and stability and accomplish feats like this on a routine basis. I can't be more excited for the future our friendship holds."

The training employed seven Yokota C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, from the 36th Airlift Squadron, and two from the 19th Airlift Wing, from Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. The total fleet of nine C-130Js transported approximately 300 JGSDF and U.S. Army airborne paratroopers to the JGSDF East Fuji Maneuver Area, Japan, for static-line jumps into the drop zone.

“I’m very pleased to be able to work closely with the 374th Airlift Wing on Airborne 23, following the New Year’s Jump event,” said Maj. Gen. Junya Wakamatsu, JGSDF, 1st Airborne Brigade commander. “The 1st Airborne Brigade realizes that our bond deepens each time, and I believe that it will also lead to a stronger U.S.-Japan relationship, and peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Wakamatsu closed his remarks on the operation by referencing the ironclad relationship between the U.S. and Japan forces, “I pray that the 374th Airlift Wing and the 1st Airborne Brigade will continue to build a ‘HAGANE’ [forged in steel] like relationship of mutual trust, cooperation, and prosperity.”

In addition to the personnel drop, the forces parachuted 100 Containerized Delivery System bundles from the U.S. Air Force C-130Js at six different points of impact at the Fuji Drop Zone on the second mission flight.

JGSDF cargo specialists constructed 100 bundles at Yokota for the first time ever, and experts from both nations inspected them for precision. They carried simulated cargo which would commonly consist of fuel, water, food, and different types of ammunition, designed to directly support JGSDF operations in real-world situations.

The 374th Airlift Wing continues to strengthen alliances and partnerships throughout the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. security strategy in the Indo-Pacific region emphasizes the importance of training between the United States and the armed forces of friendly and allied nations.