By MC2 Pedro Rodriguez
Naval Air Facility Misawa Public Affairs
The “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 took part in a bilateral exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) June 14 at Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan.
VP-8 hosted a visit from the JMSDF’s VP-2 “Odin” Squadron, stationed out of Hachinohe Air Base in northern Japan.
Their bilateral exercise focused on tactical communication and coordination, and consisted of four short tactical flights – two flown by the “Tigers” and two flown by VP-2 – from which crewmen of each squadron were aboard as observers.
“It was such a great opportunity to be able to work with such high quality forces,” said Lt. Dan Kuriluk, a VP-8 pilot who participated as an observer on one of the Japanese flights. “I was extremely impressed with the crew’s professionalism and skill. I highly encourage anyone who may have this opportunity in the future to participate.”
Odin crew members were very pleased with their experience, expressing their desire to fly with American aircrews.
“It was a great event to participate in and a great learning experience for both crews,” said Lt. Omura, a veteran Japanese plane commander with more than 3,800 flight hours.
After the exercise, both squadrons were invited to a reception on board Misawa airbase, hosted by Commander, Task Force 72.4. This provided another opportunity for VP-8 crew members to interact with their bilateral counterparts.
“On behalf of Patrol Squadron 2, I would like to show my deepest appreciation for today’s events,” said Capt. Seto of JMSDF VP-2. “I also worked with VP-8 in 2002 and it is an honor to work with them again. This is a great chance to promote our relationship and we look forward to more opportunities in the future.”
The Fighting Tigers of VP-8 are homebased at NAS Jacksonville and are currently on a six-month deployment from Naval Air Facility Misawa.