A New Option for Japanese Helo:

In a first-time event, US airmen at Yokota AB, Japan, loaded a Japanese CH-47J Chinook helicopter aboard a US C-17 airlifter. Kiyoshi Serizawa, a Ministry of Defense official said, “We thought it very significant. It confirmed the option to lift our CH-47 not only by sealift but with airlift.” According to Royal Australian Air Force Group Capt. Tim Innes, the demonstration also enlarged the US-Australian-Japanese ability to respond to disasters. The additional lift capability helps “balance” capabilities, said Innes, explaining: “For instance the Japanese are limited in their transportation options and Australia is limited in rotary wing assets. Both of these are vital in natural disasters.” The 535th Airlift Squadron at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, provided the aircraft and aircrew for the demonstration. (Yokota report by MSgt. Julie Briggs)