Japanese visit to Jacksonville airbase shows off F-15 support

Written by  //  November 16, 2012  //  Feature Stories

Senior Master Sgt. Ted Karst of the 125th Fighter Wing (right) shows off an F-15 Eagle engine to representatives from the Japanese Air Defense Force and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, during a tour of the 125th's maintenance facilities, Nov. 16, 2012. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2012) — The Florida Air National Guard hosted a contingent of visitors from Japan today, showing the group of foreign dignitaries operations at the 125th Fighter Wing.

Ten representatives from the Japanese Air Defense Force and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries toured the 125th’s F-15 Eagle maintenance facilities at the Jacksonville International Airport, observing what the Florida Air National Guard does to keeps its fighter jets in prime condition.

Maintenance Group Commander Col. Ron Corey and his staff took the Japanese visitors through the Wing’s maintenance support section, viewing everything from engine repair centers to tool distribution.

“Any time we have the opportunity to interact with our international friends it is good,” explained Deputy Maintenance Group Commander Lt. Col. Bob Botkin. “In the majority of the exercises that we conduct or participate in worldwide, we end up (training) with our allied countries.”

He said the Florida Air National Guard’s F-15s flew with Japanese F-15s most recently during a training event last year in Alaska.

The visitors were in Florida for the F-15 Worldwide Review conference in Orlando.