HomeNewsArticle Display

Keen Sword 19: Historic first JGSDF jump from USAF C-130Js in Japan

USAF C-130J Super Hercules

Crewmembers with the 36th Airlift Squadron fly over Kyushu, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' with the 36 AS became the first U.S. aircraft to drop Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers on Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Aerial photography

An aerial view of Oita prefecture from an Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Keen Sword is a concrete example of the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance, the foundation of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region for almost 60 years. The relationships that are built and maintained during these events are critical to the shared capability to respond to contingencies at a moment's notice. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

USAF C-130J Super Hercules

A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron parks at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tsuiki Air Base, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. The prior-arrived 120 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force personnel at JASDF Tsuiki AB conducted airdrop training from the C-130J at Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture for the first time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratroopers on board

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Nathan Greer, U.S. Army Alaska jump master, leads Japan Ground Self-Defense Force paratroopers assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tsuiki Air Base, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. U.S. Army jump masters assigned to the USARAK supported JGSDF paratroopers as they jumped from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratroopers on board

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade, calls boarding to a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tsuiki Air Base, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' with the 36 AS became the first U.S. aircraft to drop JGSDF soldiers on Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

USAF C-130J Super Hercules

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers with the 1st Airborne Brigade prepareto board a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tsuiki Air Base, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' with the 36 AS became the first U.S. aircraft to drop Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers on Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratroopers on board

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade board a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tsuiki Air Base, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' from the 36 AS became the first U.S. aircraft to drop JGSDF soldiers on Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratroopers

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kevin Stewart, U.S. Army Alaska jump master, talks to a Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tsuiki Air Base, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' from the 36 AS became the first U.S. aircraft to drop JGSDF soldiers on Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratrooper

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force solider assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade performs personnel accountability on a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Tsuiki Air Base, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' from the 36 AS became the first U.S. aircraft to drop JGSDF soldiers on Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratroopers
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 10 of 22

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade confirm their delivery procedures over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratrooper
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 11 of 22

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade waits to jump from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Ready to Jump
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 12 of 22

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Nathan Greer, right, U.S. Army Alaska jump master, gives a hand signal to Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules’ for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratrooper
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 13 of 22

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade concentrates himself before jumping from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

JGSDF soldiers
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 14 of 22

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade check their gear before conducting a jump from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules’ for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratrooper
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 15 of 22

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade looks outside before conducting a jump from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratrooper
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 16 of 22

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade waits to jump from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Paratroopers
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 17 of 22

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade is ready to jump from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

JGSDF
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 18 of 22

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade jumps from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

U.S. Army Alaska jump masters
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 19 of 22

(Right to left) U.S. Army Master Sgt. Nathan Greer and Staff Sgt. Kevin Stewart, both with the U.S. Army Alaska jump masters, talk after supporting Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers jumps from a C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules' for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

U.S. Army Alaska jump master
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 20 of 22

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Nathan Greer, U.S. Army Alaska jump master, takes a breath after supporting Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers jumping from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron over Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. Approximately 280 JGSDF personnel conducted jump training from U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules’ for the first time in Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade performs supply bundle checks, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 2, 2018, during Keen Sword 19.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 21 of 22

A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade performs supply bundle checks, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 2, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. The bundles were dropped by an Air Force C-130J Super Hercules from the 36 AS on Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin West)

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade and members of the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Combat Mobility Flight secure bundles at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 2, 2018, during Keen Sword 19.
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 22 of 22

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers assigned to the 1st Airborne Brigade and members of the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Combat Mobility Flight secure bundles at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 2, 2018, during Keen Sword 19. The bundles were dropped by an Air Force C-130J Super Hercules from the 36 AS on Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin West)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from the 36th Airlift Squadron became the first U.S. aircraft to drop Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers on Hiju-dai drop zone, Oita prefecture, Japan, Nov. 4, 2018, during Keen Sword 2019.

The JGSDF soldiers with the 1st Airborne Brigade, observed by U.S. Army Alaska soldiers, jumped from the C-130J Super Hercules, showcasing one of Keen Sword 19’s capability to bring military power together to train.

“It is great that we are finally able to drop JGSDF paratroopers from U.S. aircraft in Japan,” said Capt. Jeffrey Larkin, 36 AS C-130J pilot and Keen Sword 19 C-130J mission commander. “Also this is the first time that we (36th AS) will fly over Hiju-dai drop zone. This is another exciting moment for us because we can fly in an atypical environment.”

Since 2015, 36 AS and JGSDF 1st Airborne Brigade have been conducting joint jump training during Red-Flag Alaska. With this historic first combined jump training in Japan, U.S. and Japanese Airmen and Soldiers hope that it will allow for more opportunities for future training and collaboration to strengthen bonds between the two nations.

“Working with the Japanese Airborne community increases bonds and friendships, and it also increases the understanding of the strategic value of both airborne communities,” said U.S. Army Master Sgt. Nathan Greer, U.S. Army Alaska jump master.

The jump highlighted the U.S.-Japan’s strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, but the aircraft was just one moving piece in a large-scale area seizure scenario during Keen Sword 19, the first of its kind during the exercise.

“We (36AS) delivered service members, between U.S. and Japan Self-Defense Forces, from Okinawa to Misawa,” said Larkin. “Also we conducted mass Container Delivery System (CDS) drops at Hiju-dai DZ (dropzone).”

The scenario: The prior-arrived 120 JGSDF paratroopers at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Tsuiki Air Base at Fukuoka prefecture conducted airdrop training from the U.S. C-130J aircraft at Hiju-dai exercise areas, Oita prefecture, located approximately 810km from Yokota AB.

“Everything was excellent.” said Greer. “As a Jump Master, they (JGSDF) jumped safely and accurately. This is most important thing for jumpers, and they were professionals during the airborne operation.”

Keen Sword gives U.S. and Japanese Forces an opportunity to practice critical air, maritime and amphibious capabilities essential for Japan’s defense and for regional security. Also the exercise is the latest in a series of bilateral field training exercises that for more than 30 years have increased combat readiness and interoperability between the U.S. and JSDF.

“The scenario gave us the opportunity to practice tactical airlift to deliver supplies and personnel at a moment’s notice.” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian Gates, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130J loadmaster. “Any joint training provides greater awareness of how U.S. military and JSDF train to prepare for future contingencies and it help us stay ready to provide joint support when we are called upon.”

Approximately 10,000 U.S. Forces members from the following units are participating in KS19, including U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Forces, Japan, 7th Fleet, 5th Air Force, 374th Airlift Wing, 18th Wing, 35th Fighter Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.