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US, Japanese, Australian forces train together during Pacific Defender 20-1

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Okiem Nixon, 736th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) Commando Warrior noncommissioned officer in charge of combat arms, and Staff Sgt. Sean Guillen, 736th SFS Commando Warrior instructor, demonstrate combative maneuvers to Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), Royal Australian Air Force, and U.S. Air Force security forces personnel during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 9, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Okiem Nixon, 736th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) Commando Warrior noncommissioned officer in charge of combat arms, and Staff Sgt. Sean Guillen, 736th SFS Commando Warrior instructor, demonstrate combative maneuvers to Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), Royal Australian Air Force, and U.S. Air Force security forces personnel during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 9, 2020. Pacific Defender is an annual series of subject matter expert exchanges providing an opportunity for security forces personnel from various nations to exchange tactics, techniques, and procedures through demonstrations and hands-on exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon Schleis, 824th Base Defense Squadron fire team member, stands guard over a simulated forward operating base during the field application portion of Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 13, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Brandon Schleis, 824th Base Defense Squadron fire team member, stands guard over a simulated forward operating base during the field application portion of Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 13, 2020. The week-long subject matter expert exchange culminated in a two-day field application where participants put their new skills and interoperability with personnel from other participating nations to the test. (U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

U.S. Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel practice shooting the U.S. Air Force M4 assault rifle during Pacific Defender 20-1 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12, 2020.

U.S. Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel practice shooting the U.S. Air Force M4 assault rifle during Pacific Defender 20-1 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12, 2020. During the subject matter expert exchange, U.S. Air Force, Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), and RAAF security forces personnel exchanged tactics, techniques, and procedures and gained hands-on experience with each others’ equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel stand ready as RAAF Military Working Dog (MWD) Xara enters a building to neutralize a simulated threat during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 11, 2020.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel stand ready as RAAF Military Working Dog (MWD) Xara enters a building to neutralize a simulated threat during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 11, 2020. MWD handlers from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), and RAAF were able to demonstrate the capabilities of their respective MWDs as well as learn each others’ tactics, techniques, and procedures in order to better integrate with each other should the need arise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

U.S. Air Force Military Working Dog (MWD) Pedro takes a break following a demonstration of his capabilities during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 10, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Military Working Dog (MWD) Pedro takes a break following a demonstration of his capabilities during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 10, 2020. During Pacific Defender 20-1, MWD handlers from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), and Royal Australian Air Force had demonstrated their respective tactics, techniques, and procedures, and gained experience working together in a simulated contingency environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) Staff Sgt. Hiroki Nishikawa and Staff Sgt. Shiji Miyahara, Base Defense Development Training squadron instructors, demonstrate combative maneuvers to Royal Australian Air Force, U.S. Air Force, and Koku Jietai (JASDF) personnel during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 9, 2020.

Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) Staff Sgt. Hiroki Nishikawa and Staff Sgt. Shiji Miyahara, Base Defense Development Training squadron instructors, demonstrate combative maneuvers to Royal Australian Air Force, U.S. Air Force, and Koku Jietai (JASDF) personnel during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 9, 2020. Pacific Defender 20-1 was a week-long exchange of various security forces tactics, techniques, and procedures including hand-to-hand combatives and Military Working Dog operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

Members of the Royal Australian Air Force, U.S. Air Force, and Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) participate in a simulated live fire scenario during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 11, 2020.

Members of the Royal Australian Air Force, U.S. Air Force, and Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force) participate in a simulated live fire scenario during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 11, 2020. During the scenario, participants were split into teams consisting of several members from each nation in order to test and enhance their interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rowdy Spears, 736th Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of standards and evaluations, approaches a training scenario during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 10, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rowdy Spears, 736th Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of standards and evaluations, approaches a training scenario during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 10, 2020. During Pacific Defender 20-1, participants from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), and Royal Australian Air Force gained experience working together in a contingency environment through various demonstrations and hands-on field applications. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Okiem Nixon, 736th Security Forces Squadron Commando Warrior noncommissioned officer in charge of combat arms, fires at a simulated threat during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 11, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Okiem Nixon, 736th Security Forces Squadron Commando Warrior noncommissioned officer in charge of combat arms, fires at a simulated threat during Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 11, 2020. Pacific Defender is an annual series of security forces subject matter expert exchanges that bring together security forces personnel and key leaders from various Pacific nations to exchange knowledge through various demonstrations and hands-on drills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

A member of the U.S. Air Force practices shooting the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) EF88 assault rifle during Pacific Defender 20-1 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12, 2020.
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A member of the U.S. Air Force practices shooting the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) EF88 assault rifle during Pacific Defender 20-1 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12, 2020. During the subject matter expert exchange, U.S. Air Force, Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), and RAAF security forces personnel exchanged tactics, techniques, and procedures and gained hands-on experience with each others’ equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

A member of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) prepares to shoot a U.S. Air Force M18 pistol during Pacific Defender 20-1 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12, 2020.
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A member of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) prepares to shoot a U.S. Air Force M18 pistol during Pacific Defender 20-1 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 12, 2020. During the subject matter expert exchange, U.S. Air Force, Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), and RAAF security forces personnel exchanged tactics, techniques, and procedures and gained hands-on experience with each others’ equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --

Palm trees and tall grasses bend and sway in the near-constant breeze, which offers a welcome respite from the balmy temperatures and humidity inherent to the Northern Mariana Islands. The scene is tropical, beautiful, and could be described as peaceful were it not for the sporadic sound of simulated gunfire echoing through the nearby jungle.

Approximately 60 U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), and Royal Australian Air Force security forces personnel participated in Pacific Defender 20-1 at the Pacific Regional Training Center near Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Feb. 9-14.

Pacific Defender 20-1, which was hosted by the 736th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) Commando Warrior flight, is the first in a region-wide series of security forces-centric exercises and subject matter expert exchanges scheduled for this year. The U.S. Pacific Air Forces-sponsored events bring together security forces personnel and key leaders from various Indo-Pacific nations to exchange knowledge through a week of demonstrations and hands-on practice, culminating in a two-day field application where participants put their new skills to the test.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Ryan Kiggins, 736th SFS commander, explained the subject matter expert exchange emphasizes interoperability between partner nations in the Pacific region, empowering members from all countries involved to move past cultural and language barriers. Participants identify commonalities and differences in tactics, techniques, and procedures in order to create opportunities for integration into each others’ processes and form the most effective team possible.

“It’s an awesome opportunity being able to see how the Koku Jieitai (JASDF) and RAAF work,” said Airman 1st Class Brandon Schleis, 824th Base Defense Squadron fire team member. “Getting to know what their operating procedures are compared to ours and having the chance to practice adaptive basing, which is new to us, have been very beneficial.”

During the exchange , participants observed U.S. Air Force, Marine, and RAAF Military Working Dog capability demonstrations and tested weapons used by U.S., RAAF, and Koku Jieitai (JASDF) security forces personnel. There were also hand-to-hand combatives instruction sessions as well as opportunities to practice operating in a simulated hostile environment.

“It’s been a great experience,” said RAAF Leading Aircraftwoman Kimberly de Haan, RAAF Base Richmond MWD handler. “I’ve learned a lot of new things I can take aboard for my own personal training and new things I can take back to the other team members in Richmond as well.”

By the end of the week-long exchange, participants had spent nearly 150 hours learning to capitalize on each others’ strengths and devising strategies to accomplish mission objectives most effectively by pooling resources and experience. They also built interpersonal connections along the way and gained the confidence to rely on each other when it matters most.

“Building camaraderie and creating those relationships with our foreign partners is probably my favorite part,” said Schleis. “Being able to have laughs and jokes while learning what they can do and showing them what we can do ensures when or if we need to work with them in the future, we have a baseline of what to expect and we can get to work more quickly and more effectively.”

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