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610th Air Control Flight: Caravanning in Japan

When thinking of Camels, Japan might be the last place people think of spotting one. Especially at Misawa Air Base, the Snowiest Department of Defense installation in the world, but for the Airmen of the 610th Air Control Flight (ACF), it’s a daily part of the job.

The 610th ACF, known by their callsign “Camel”, work to protect Japan by monitoring flight paths and communicating with pilots from the 35th Fighter Wing during missions.

Besides being identifiers, call signs such as “Camel” are critical in the military for their use of disguising the identity of pilots when in communication. Similarly, stations communicate with call sign for tactical anonymity and ease of addressing each other. Because of this, the ACF career field decided to keep using their assigned tactical call sign “Camel” since 1945.

The 610th ACF provides improved situational awareness by monitoring flight paths of the airspace, while identifying and relaying information in real time to pilots.  Despite being like an air traffic controller, ACF Airmen provide more tactical assistance to fighter pilots weather it be daily, during exercises, or if need be, air-to-air combat.

“It’s a high operation tempo here at Misawa. We try to support them as much as possible. Providing our fighter squadrons what they need in order to succeed in the air.”

said 2nd Lt. Gianna Oh, 610th ACF air battle manager

Their mission requires pushing constant and accurate information to the pilots. Part of being able to meet requirement, ACF Airmen at Misawa Air Base work with Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts. Being a bilateral and joint-service air base, Misawa utilizes a center manned by both USAF and JASDF to monitor airspace.

These allied nations take working together a step further by hosting many events together in and out of the office.

“We coordinate bilateral events outside of work since we work with each other daily at the center,” said Airman First Class Jonathan Fox, 610th ACF battle management technician. “You see different ways other cultures communicate and it helps build relationships between us.” 

From convoying to conveying, both units strive to work together as a team to best coordinate with the pilots in the sky and give them the best scope of the airspace as possible enabling the projection of constant air power, keeping the Indo Pacific free and open.

Source : Misawa Air Base