653rd CLSS maintenance instructors provide aircraft battle damage repair training to Japan Air Self Defense Force
By Amanda Creel, 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 23, 2007
Robins Air Force Base Ga., --
Some 653rd Combat Logistics Support Squadron training instructors not only have the responsibility of training Robins maintainers, they also have the opportunity to train maintainers from some of the United States' allies.
On Feb. 12, five members of the Japan Air Self Defense Force arrived at Robins to attend Aircraft Battle Damage Repair training.
The ABDR training teaches techniques designed to help maintainers repair aircraft quickly and get them back to the fight, said Tech. Sgt. Glen Weaver, a training instructor for the ABDR program at Robins. Most of the repair techniques focus on damage that occurs in battle, but the repair techniques can also be applied to aircraft damaged in other situations, such as crash landings.
Lt. Col. Masafumi "Happy" Ito, Robins liaison officer with the JASDF, said the five students are attending training at Robins because Japan does not have an ABDR training program and these students will replace students who completed the training two years ago.
The Japanese maintainers are here to train on both the F-15 and the C-130. Before departing March 8, the students will participate in three different courses: the Aircraft Battle Damage Repair Technician, the Aircraft Battle Damage Assessor and an F-15-specific or C-130-specific class, depending on which aircraft the student works on. Once the students have completed the training and spend six months working on their respective aircraft they are ABDR certified.
Two of the Japanese students, 1st Lt. Yusuke Asano and Staff Sgt. Masayaka Takeuchi, will return to Japan to be maintenance instructors. The pair agreed watching the instructors here and being trained in the ABDR techniques would be helpful as they returned to teach their troops aircraft maintenance.
"We came to learn ABDR and also to communicate with the U.S. Air Force. It's an opportunity to communicate deeper," Lieutenant Asano said.
1st Lt. Atsushi Furusato, another student with the group, said Robins provided a good environment to learn all the material required during the ABDR training. He added it was also a good opportunity to study English.
Not all of the students were members of the JASDF. Tomohiro Matsuo is a civilian contractor who works for Kawasaki Industries, the company that maintains the C-130 aircraft for the JASDF.
"The mission has recently expanded and we have to maintain and improve our support abilities to meet the demand," Mr. Matsuo said.
To teach the principals and procedures of the ABDR training to the foreign students, some alterations have to be made to the training syllabus, such as OPSEC checks to make sure no classified information is released.
"We had to actually revise our lesson plans to fit their aircraft," Sergeant Weaver said. He said although both forces fly F-15s, they use different models resulting in some discrepancies between repair procedures.
Staff Sgt. Paul Hockaday, an ABDR training instructor, said we have to go through the Foreign Disclosure Office, "to make sure what we are teaching isn't classified."
The Robins instructors said they wouldn't trade the opportunity to teach both Robins Airmen and foreign students because it allows them to bring a broader prospective to the classroom.
Sergeant Hockaday said the language barrier doesn't hinder them from training the Japanese students or keep the trainers from gaining knowledge from the Japanese students.
"In maintenance, we all kind of speak the same language, even if it is two different languages," said Sergeant Hockaday.
Sergeant Weaver said the foreign students have a solid approach to learning and that they are meticulous about every detail of the technical orders they learn in the training.
"They hang on every word we say in class. They are very serious about learning everything we teach them," Sergeant Weaver said.
All five students and the instructors agreed participating in the training was a good opportunity to develop and enhance foreign relations between the two countries.
"It helps with foreign relations. We learn a little bit about them, they learn a little bit about us," Sergeant Hockaday said.