VMFA-121 Helps Prepare JASDF for F-35A

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan // September 14, 2017

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 hosted members of Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s Third Air Wing for an educational tour and class centered around the F-35A Lightning II at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Sept. 13, 2017.

U.S. Marine Corps Photo

The tour was an effort from the Marine Corps to share knowledge and experiences of the F-35B Lightning II with the JASDF in preparation for their upcoming acquirement of the aircraft.

“The purpose of today’s tour was to bring some JASDF maintainers down from Misawa Air Base, who are expecting to get the F-35, and show them how we operate our maintenance department here in Iwakuni,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Adam Wellington, aircraft maintenance officer for VMFA-121. “We wanted to exchange ideas and answer questions for them as they prep for the arrival of this aircraft.”

JASDF personnel were given several classes regarding maintenance, serviceability, operability and more. Afterwards, they briefly toured VMFA-121’s facility, taking a peek into different departments and visiting the hangar to see, touch and study the aircraft up close.

JASDF Lt. Col. Mamoru Yamaura, F-35A Lightning II program office chief with the Third Air Wing, said even though they’re becoming increasingly knowledgeable, they’ve come to the point where they need to directly see how to operate the aircraft.

“It is very significant for us to see, meet and talk with personnel who are already operating or supporting the F-35,” said Yamaura. “This exchange program is very instructive for us. We’ve learned a lot about the F-35 and the United States Marine Corps. I believe we should have many more exchanges like this.”

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