EAST CHINA SEA -- USS America (LHA 6), the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, trained alongside Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) and other Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships off the coast of Kyushu, Nov. 3.
America, Ise, and six other JMSDF ships conducted precision maneuvering and integrated surface warfare training, which enhanced operability and partnership between the two navies.
“Our ability to come together as a partnered surface action group, right out of a two-month pause in operations to conduct maintenance and training ashore, speaks to the strength and agility of our relationship with the JMSDF,” said Capt. Ken Ward, America’s commanding officer. “We’ve aggressively rekindled the relationship with our host nation sister ship, JS Ise, as COVID restrictions have lifted. It was extremely gratifying to be able to plan, stage and execute with our JMSDF partners in nearly the same fashion that we used to prior to the pandemic.”
The result of detailed planning and integration between America and counterparts aboard Ise while in port, a simulated bilateral strait transit and screen formation seamlessly integrated America into the group of JMSDF ships.
“We have conducted several in-port events so far, and we were finally able to conduct a bilateral event at sea,” said Capt. Koji Miyazaki, Ise’s commanding officer. “This event was a very good opportunity to enhance our interoperability. We also succeeded in nurturing spirits of the U.S. Navy and JMSDF friendship in our crews through events we did in port and underway. We will keep this relationship for the future.”
The formation comprised America, Ise, the Murasame-class destroyer JS Harusame (DD 102), the Asahi-class destroyer JS Asahi (DD 119), the Hayabusa-class guided-missile patrol boat JS Otaka (PG 826), and the Harishima-class minesweepers JS Takashima (MSC 603), JS Harishima (MSC 601) and JS Yakushima (MSC 602).
America, flagship of the America Expeditionary Strike Group, along with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners, and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.