WAKUNI, Japan -- Amphibious assault carrier USS Tripoli (LHA 7) completed its first foreign port visit to Iwakuni, Japan, May 20-22, 2022.
While pier side at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, the crew demonstrated the U.S. Navy’s commitment to strengthening relations with Japan. They also took on supplies and experienced local Japanese culture.
Additionally, Tripoli hosted a tour of the ship for the Hon. Yoshihiko Fukuda, the Iwakuni Mayor, and U.S. Marine Corps Col. Lance Lewis, MCAS Iwakuni commanding officer.
While in Iwakuni 232 Marines from Marine Wing Communication Squadron (MWCS) 171, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 121, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 12, and Marine Air Logistics Squadron (MALS) 12 embarked to support operations.
The ship received more than 140 pallets of frozen, dried, and fresh food to replenish stores used while underway.
“This helps the morale of the crew,” said Chief Culinary Specialist Jesus Ron. “You don’t have home-cooked food, so we try to support [them] with the best quality meals.”
Tripoli Sailors also had a chance explore Iwakuni. To help with this, the command’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) team organized transportation to various locations, such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Kintai Bridge, and Iwakuni Castle.
“I’m excited to get off the ship and learn more about this culture,” said Logistic Specialist 3rd Class Bryan Trice, from St. Louis. “I’m also looking forward to eating some good ramen while I’m here.”
For most of Tripoli’s Sailors, this marks the first foreign port of their career.
“It’s just fascinating and weird to be visiting a foreign port.” said Gas Turbine Systems (Mechanical) Fireman Gavin Levell, from Russellville, Arkansas.
Levell added that it was strange visiting a place where English isn’t the primary language.
Others members of the crew are returning to a Navy region they know well.
“I’m so excited because I’m able to see Japan again,” said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Saturnino Calano, from Ilocos-Norte, Philippines. “I miss the culture and the food.”
While conducting routine operations in the U.S. 7th fleet, Tripoli supports U.S. interests throughout the region along with protecting maritime security and promoting regional stability.