NEWS | Nov. 2, 2020

​Shiloh joins Keen Sword to enhance U.S.-Japan combat readiness

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryre Arciaga and Ensign Luke Lanham USS Shiloh

PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) joined other ships from U.S., Japan and Canada to kick-off exercise Keen Sword Oct. 26, 2020.

Shiloh, as part of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, is conducting training with the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) in international waters. Exercise Keen Sword is a biennial exercise designed to enhance U.S.-Japan bilateral warfare operations through air defense, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare scenarios required to support the defense of Japan and to respond to a crisis or contingency in the Indo-Pacific region. The coordination between regional allies and partners during this exercise provides an effective deterrent against aggression and promotes regional peace and stability.

“This year’s bilateral exercise demonstrates our commitment to enduring cooperation with our allies,” said Capt. Sharif Calfee, commanding officer, from Toms River, New Jersey. ”Having operated closely with the Japanese multiple times before, the complexity and training value of these exercises has increased with each iteration as we are continually striving to operate at a higher level with our partners and improve our readiness.”

The exercise began with a photo exercise where Shiloh sailed in formation alongside all participating units, followed by a replenishment-at-sea with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199). Training scenarios scheduled to take place will test the Shiloh crew on their ability to operate effectively with their counterparts.

"The Shiloh crew has remained ready to respond with military capabilities within the 7th fleet area of responsibility,” said Senior Chief Operations Specialist Kindred Heard, USS Shiloh operations department leading chief petty officer, from Auburn, Alabama. “We are happy to have the opportunity to show our Japanese allies that we are ready and capable to support them at all times."

Keen Sword is the latest in a series of joint/bilateral field training exercises conducted since 1986 designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability of the JSDF and U.S. forces. Exercises like Keen Sword provide the JSDF and U.S. military opportunities to train together across a variety of mission areas in realistic scenarios, enhancing readiness, interoperability, and building credible deterrence.

Shiloh is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability and a free and open Indo-Pacific.