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Airmen load Japanese helicopter into U.S. plane

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A Japan Ground Self Defense Force CH-47J Chinook is loaded onto a C-17

Globemaster III cargo plane Feb. 23 at Yokota Air Base, Japan. The

demonstration was conducted the during the Pacific Global Air Mobility

Seminar held Feb. 22 and 23. The CH-47J is assigned to the 1st Helicopter

Brigade at JGSDF Camp Kisarazu in Kisarazu City, Chiba Prefecture, and the

C-17 is assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron at Hickam Air Force Base,

Hawaii. (U.S. Air Force photo/Osakabe Yasuo)



by Master Sgt. Julie Briggs

374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


2/27/2008 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan (AFPN) -- American Airmen and Japan

Ground Self Defense Force members loaded a Japanese CH-47J Chinook onto a

C-17 Globemaster III Feb. 23 at Yokota Air Base


The demonstration took place the last morning of the Pacific Global Air

Mobility Seminar held Feb. 22 and 23 and attended by representatives from

Japan, Australia and the United States.


"We thought it very significant," said Kiyoshi Serizawa, the director of the

Defense Policy Bureau's Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation Division of the Japan

Ministry of Defense. "It confirmed the option to lift our CH-47 not only by

sealift but with airlift."


Moving CH-47Js via strategic airlift expands Japan's capability to move the

helicopters quickly during humanitarian relief operations.


"The key to any disaster relief or humanitarian aid operations is to get the

assets on the ground in the shortest possible time," said Royal Australian

Air Force Group Capt. Tim Innes, the officer commanding No. 84 Wing and

director of the Air Mobility Control Center.


The ability to load a CH-47J on a C-17 gives an overall improvement for the

three nations -- Australia, Japan and the U.S. -- to respond to any

disaster, Group Captain Innes said.


"We each have our strengths and capabilities and we're hoping to balance

those off," Group Captain Innes said. "For instance, the Japanese are

limited in their transportation options and Australia is limited in rotary

wing assets. Both of those are vital in natural disasters. By coming

together and cooperating, we can provide a better service for response to

those national disasters."


During tsunami relief efforts a couple of years ago, Japan looked into

moving the CH-47s by strategic airlift, said Lt. Col. Leonard Kosinski, who

is assigned to the U.S. Joint Staff's Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate

as a political-military planner and the country director for Japan.


"There wasn't enough time to coordinate and we really didn't have the

capability, so eventually Japan had to move them by ship, which took

approximately 10 days," Colonel Kosinski said. "That's not enough response

time for those kinds of disasters."


By using strategic airlift, the helicopters can arrive within 12 hours and

be operational within 18 to 24 hours, said David Meyer of the U.S.

Transportation Command's en route infrastructure branch. "For search and

rescue, where time is of the essence, this is critical."


Once in place, the CH-47J is used to transport goods to remote areas, said

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Capt. Tatsuhiko Takashima, head of the

Joint Staff's Defense and International Policy Planning Division, Japan

Ministry of Defense.


The size of the CH-47J and communicating with the Japan ground self defense

force members who helped load the helicopter proved challenging, but they

got through it, said Staff Sgt. Ryan Boehm, assigned to the 535th Airlift

Squadron from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.


"It definitely brings us a lot closer doing joint operations like this with

the Japanese and the Australians," Sergeant Boehm said.


Sergeant Boehm and two other C-17 loadmasters oversaw the 35-minute loading

process under the watchful eyes of about 65 Japan Ground Self Defense Force

members from the 1st Helicopter Brigade at JGSDF Camp Kisarazu in Kisarazu

City, Chiba Prefecture. Earlier in the week they had prepared their unit's

helicopter for loading, which included removing the wings and rotors.


The CH-47J is larger than an American Chinook by about 6 to 8 inches on each

side and about 5 to 6 inches on the top, Sergeant Boehm said. Once loaded,

moving around the CH-47J meant turning sideways to squeeze by the Chinook's

fuel tanks.


"We're getting to work with different countries and what we're doing has

global impact," said Capt. Brian Moritz, a 535th ALS C-17 pilot. "It's a

great thing to be a part of."

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