Working side-by-side with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force on Exercise Bushido Guardian presented a unique opportunity to share in each other’s culture.
For most of the RAAF exercise personnel, it was their first time to Japan. They indulged in Japanese food and learned about the very different and ancient Japanese culture. RAAF airmen also thanked the community of Chitose for their hospitality by taking part in a community clean up alongside JASDF (Koku-Jietai) personnel.
JASDF personnel also had a chance to taste vegemite, play a friendly game of touch football and learn of the significance of No. 77 Squadron’s Worimi jet.
The distinctive jet was brought to Japan as part of the F/A-18 exercise fleet and its unique paint scheme proved a conversation starter. Aircraft technician and Ngemba-Murrawarri man Sergeant Grant Biles told the aircraft’s story and shared some of his Indigenous culture with the Koku-Jieitai.
“The Worimi jet is an acknowledgement to the importance of the relationship between the Australian Defence Force and traditional land owners,” Sergeant Biles said.
“It was unveiled in 2015 and the artwork is made up of 400 individually stencilled motifs.
“Worimi is the Aboriginal nation that accommodates our home base of Williamtown in Port Stephens.
“The other significant feature its namesake of Warrant Officer Len Waters. He was the first Aboriginal aviator and the only one to serve as a fighter pilot in World War Two.
“It’s great to be able to come together and not only learn about each other’s aircraft and operating procedures but also to share each other’s culture.
“It’s telling stories from our country, eating each other’s food and the day to day conversations that fortify the strong friendships we make on exercises.”
Exercise Bushido Guardian was held in Chitose Air Base, Japan from September 11 to October 8. As the first ever air combat exercise between Japan and Australia it forged stronger person-to-person bonds and further strengthened the defence relationship between the two countries.