U.S.-Japan forces welcome new year with bilateral jump

By Airman 1st Class Brieana Bolfing | 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs | Jan. 13, 2020

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan —

Three U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the 36th Airlift Squadron out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, participated in the Japanese Forces annual New Year’s Jump at Camp Narashino training area, Chiba, Japan, Jan. 12, 2020.

This is the first year the U.S. Air Force participated in the event featuring the bilateral collaboration between U.S. and Japanese forces, utilizing aircraft from both the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force and jumpers from the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.

“The New Year’s jump originally started back in the '60s and became opened to public viewing in the '70s,” said USAF Capt. Robert Frisch, 36th Airlift Squadron project officer. “It is the prayer for safe deployment of chutes festival, where each year the JASDF and the JGSDF get together and show the public their capabilities to do a joint jump on a small drop zone area. That drop zone location is at Camp Narashino, which is right on the border of Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture. It is pretty much in the city, allowing lots of people to attend.”

The JGSDF soldiers with the 1st Airborne Brigade along with U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers in Alaska and 82nd Airborne Division Soldiers jumped from the combined USAF and JASDF aircraft, showcasing the combined bilateral military capability in a training environment.

“This is a team effort to successfully complete this event,” said USAF Col. Kevin Martin, 374th Operations Group commander. “It’s important as we go forward, whether we are Air Force or Army, whether we wear a U.S. or Japanese flag, that we come together as a team.

“This is a New Year’s celebration. Though the true reality is this shows a bilateral effort by the JGSDF, the JASDF, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army to provide a combat power.”

The jump emphasized the U.S.’s and Japan’s strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, while showcasing the variety of aircraft both military are capable of utilizing.

“We have three C-130J’s from the U.S. side, two JASDF C-130H Hercules, two C-1s, and a C-2 all relatively close to each other dropping both U.S. Army and JGSDF together over a short period of time, it takes a lot of coordination to make that happen,” said Frisch. “We can incorporate this type of training into literally anything else, be it landing on island or any other scenario. We have shown we are capable of so much when we work together.

“The fact that we can have JGSDF and U.S. Army on our aircraft or on their aircraft, shows we can collaborate as one seamlessly. So to see that happen and do a joint jump where within just a few minutes we can get 300 combat-ready troops on the ground in a very small area, that’s just really cool to be a part of.”

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