International Officer Spotlight

(Courtesy photo)

(Courtesy photo)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- -- Name: Satoshi Saito
Rank/Country of service: Major /Japan
Branch of service: Japan Air Self-
Defense Force
Official duty title: F-2 fighter pilot

I currently am an exchange student attending Air Command and Staff College, Air Education and Training Command, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

Give a brief description of your military career.

I graduated from Officer Cadet School in 2002 from Nara Air Base, Nara City, Japan and then attended and graduated Undergraduate Pilot Training class at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. I then qualified as an F-2 fighter pilot in 2005 having flown from 2006-2011 at Misawa Air Base, Japan, and have logged approximately 700 flight hours with the 3rd Squadron, Japan Air Self-Defense Force from 2006-2011.
In 2008 I deployed to southwest Asia as an Air Mobility Division staff officer working mission planning for the Japanese C-130s.
In 2011, I was selected to attend the year-long Japanese Command and Staff Course at the Air Officer College, located at Meguro Air Base, Tokyo.
I was then selected to represent Japan at the U.S. Air Force's Air Command and Staff College. I moved to the United States with my wife, Sanae, in June 2012 and will graduate with a Master of Military Operational Art and Science degree.

How did you get selected to attend school at Air University?

While at CSC, I applied and was hand-selected out of approximately 50 officers from the CSC to attend ACSC.
I recognize that this is an opportunity to further my military education and become more versed in U.S. military doctrine, strategic operations, officership and leadership, and will apply this education to my future military career.

What has been your proudest moment while serving in the military?

I felt most proud during and after my deployment to southwest Asia. Representing my country in this honorable mission was quite fulfilling. I'm very proud of this because it was my first deployment supporting real-world missions outside of Japan.

How does your home differ from Montgomery?

The climate is here is very different. Montgomery's summer weather is the hottest I've ever encountered, besides southwest Asia. My hometown of Fukushima is surrounded by mountains and is much colder than Alabama. It also snows in the winter. Otherwise, like my hometown, people are very kind and friendly in Montgomery.

What things do you miss about your country?

I miss Japan when I watch the news of some traditional events such as historical festival in Japan. My wife and I also miss our families. Fortunately, we are able to chat with them over the Internet.

If you could import one cultural difference, what would it be and why?

I would like to import the New Year's ceremony of Japan. The Japanese cerebrate three days of the New Year, Jan. 1-3. This provides us a chance to celebrate for several more days and gives us an opportunity to plan whole year goals individually.

If you could take home one cultural difference, what would it be and why?

I like to watch any pro sports league because they are really exciting. There are only two major professional sports leagues in Japan, baseball and soccer, so I want to invite more American pro sports to Japan.

How will you use the education you have received from Air Command and Staff College once you return home?

US-Japan alliance needs to be tightened more for the future and Japan Air Self- Defense Force makes effort for this. It is my responsibility to contribute to bilateral interoperability of both forces and introduce how U.S. military officers build-up leadership, decision making and strategy.

Favorite book(s):

 "Clouds Above The Hill" by Ryotaro Shiba. This novel is about the true story of the Shino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War.

Favorite movie:

"Backdraft." This movie shows great sense of justice and brotherhood.

Favorite food:

 Steak is my favorite food here.

Favorite TV show:

 "Friends." I still enjoy the rerun episodes even though they don't make the show anymore.

Favorite entertainer:

 Michael Jackson was the king of entertainment. I used to sing his song, "Black or White," in English class.