The U.S. Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group organized exercise Gryphon Jet from June 17-26, 2020 at Yokota Air Base, Japan. Over that 10-day period U.S. forces teamed up to execute the high altitude high opening, high altitude low opening, fast rope, and repel training needed to get its special tactics operators where they need to be quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, ready to respond at a moment’s notice. In maintaining that capability to respond, it is the flexibility and professionalism of the members of the special operations community that allows them succeed.
“Essentially, as part of our COVID-19 response and ensuring the health and safety of our Airmen, we haven’t been able to do a lot of the integration exercises that we’ve been able to do under normal circumstances.” said Lt. Col Jason Hock, 21st SOS commander, “We’ve been able to maintain a lot of our training at Yokota and within the 353rd SOG, but not as much with our other mission partners. This exercise gave us an opportunity to travel within Japan from base to base and train with our mission partners to increase our interoperability and capability within the special operations community.”
Gryphon Jet’s complete list of participants included: U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron, CV-22 Ospreys assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron, 374th Operations Group Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialists, all out of Yokota, 353rd Special Operation’s Group special tactics operators out of Kadena Air Base, Japan, U.S. Navy special operators with the Navy SEALs (Sea, Air and Land) Team One, and Army Special Operators with the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Torii Station, Japan.
“What makes this training so important is it guarantees that we remain ready to respond to near peer competition, contingency response and personnel recovery scenarios throughout this area of responsibility,” said Hock. “Whatever we need to do in the defense of the U.S., Japan, or any of our allies in Indo-Pacific region, we are prepared as a force to do just that. This is our bread and butter, this is what we do. When we come together, regardless of our branch of service, we are able to get after that mission to make it happen. We’ve worked together seamlessly across the globe for so many years and that’s not going to stop anytime soon. Gryphon Jet only further cements that fact.”