HomeNewsArticle Display

News Search

JASDF CSAF visits Columbus AFB

Columbus Air Force Base pilots display the T-38C Talon and the T-6A Texan II to Gen. Harukazu Saitoh, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff, and JASDF staff during their base tour Dec. 2 on the Columbus Air Force Base flightline. The JASDF’s pilot training in the U.S. Air Force began in 1991. Since then, over 200 JASDF pilots have completed the training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Daniel Lile)

Columbus Air Force Base pilots display the T-38C Talon and the T-6A Texan II to Gen. Harukazu Saitoh, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff, and JASDF staff during their base tour Dec. 2 on the Columbus Air Force Base flightline. The JASDF’s pilot training in the U.S. Air Force began in 1991. Since then, over 200 JASDF pilots have completed the training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Daniel Lile)

First Lt. Fumita Sakyu, 49th Fighter Training Squadron, points out the Up Front control panel, where pilots control their avionics, to include radios and navigational aids, to Gen. Harukazu Saitoh, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff, in a T-38C Talon during his tour Dec. 2 on Columbus Air Force Base. Saitoh said the training the JASDF pilots go through significantly contributes to strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Daniel Lile)

First Lt. Fumita Sakyu, 49th Fighter Training Squadron, points out the Up Front control panel, where pilots control their avionics, to include radios and navigational aids, to Gen. Harukazu Saitoh, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff, in a T-38C Talon during his tour Dec. 2 on Columbus Air Force Base. Saitoh said the training the JASDF pilots go through significantly contributes to strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Daniel Lile)

Gen. Harukazu Saitoh, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff, pauses for a photo with 1st Lt. Fumita Sakyu, 49th Fighter Training Squadron, and 1st Lt. Toshiaki Kawanishi, 49th Fighter Training Squadron/15-BBC, Dec. 2 by a T-38C Talon bearing the general’s name. Saitoh visited Columbus AFB for two days to observe the pilot training program and boost morale. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Daniel Lile)

Gen. Harukazu Saitoh, Japan Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff, pauses for a photo with 1st Lt. Fumita Sakyu, 49th Fighter Training Squadron, and 1st Lt. Toshiaki Kawanishi, 49th Fighter Training Squadron/15-BBC, Dec. 2 by a T-38C Talon bearing the general’s name. Saitoh visited Columbus AFB for two days to observe the pilot training program and boost morale. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Daniel Lile)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The Japan Air Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff toured Columbus Air Force Base Dec. 1-2 to check in on the pilot training program and boost morale.

Gen. Harukazu Saitoh expressed his gratitude to Columbus AFB and the U.S. Air Force for welcoming the JASDF pilot students into the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training course.

The JASDF's pilot training with the U.S. Air Force began in 1991. At first, the students only took the UPT course (T-38s), but later on took both the SUPT course as well as the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals course.

"Two hundred and fifteen JASDF pilots have completed their training [with] the U.S. Air Force so far," Saitoh said. "Some of them were promoted to major generals this year, and are now wing commanders. Others are playing active parts in various fields as commanders or staff members of command headquarters, who constitute the core of the U.S.-Japan bilateral operations. Thus, I believe that our training pilots in the U.S. is very important for the JASDF."

During his visit, Saitoh met with the 10 JASDF students currently in training and said he is sure the students will play an active part in their units when they return to Japan.

"[Columbus AFB] is one of the best places for flight training," he said. "The extensive training range rather close to Columbus AFB enables the U.S. Air Force to train pilots quite effectively, and its three runways allow them to respond to unexpected situations flexibly."

Saitoh said the U.S.-Japan Security Arrangements are a cornerstone of Japan's security.

"Japan is now working on building up and enhancing its cooperative relationship with the U.S. in a wide range of domains, including education and personnel exchanges," Saitoh said. "The JASDF members who completed pilot training in the U.S. have a good understanding of the U.S. Air Force operations as well as flight techniques. They can plan and coordinate various programs based on their knowledge of operations both in the U.S. and Japan. As a result, they contribute to efficiently improving the U.S.-Japan interoperability."

Saitoh said he was very happy to have the opportunity to take a firsthand look at the training the pilots were going through.

"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Col. Nichols and the men and women of Columbus AFB for giving us such a warm welcome and [for] the great support in making this visit happen," he said.
Dress and Appearance
Awards and Decorations
Air Force Promotions
Fitness Program
AF Demographics