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23rd EBS works with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces during AnnualEx 20G exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ryan Whitney
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron here recently participated in the AnnualEx 20G, a bilateral exercise between U.S. and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces that took place from Nov. 13 to 19 over the Pacific Ocean.

The exercise, conducted yearly, is designed for two primary applications: to enhance the relationship between the two military forces and to improve the capabilities for bilateral operations in the defense of Japan.

During the exercise, the Airmen from the 23rd EBS, deployed from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., flew more than 10 B-52 Stratofortress sorties in support of the joint exercise.

"We had a lot of coordination between the U.S. Navy before this exercise kicked off," said Capt. Joe Little, 23rd EBS Weapons Flight commander. "A few weeks before the exercise, myself and a few other members [of the 23rd EBS] went out to the USS George Washington to coordinate our side of the exercise and see how they work."

Aircrews from the 23rd supported this exercise either as a red force or a friendly asset.
As a red force, their mission was to simulate actions of an opposing force. When flying as a friendly force, the mission turned to maritime survey, where the pilots would find and identify suspected enemy ships and work with the naval units to determine the best course of action to take.

"It was really eye-opening to see the difference between the ways different services operate," said Captain Little. "It was a little difficult at first, but by the end of the first week of the exercise, we were on the same page as our Navy brethren."

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