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NEWS | May 22, 2024

USS Higgins Departs Shimoda, Black Ship Festival

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Hannah Fry, Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15

The Yokosuka-based destroyer visited Shimoda for the 85th annual Black Ship Festival, commemorating the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry and his ‘Black Ships’ in July 1853, and the signing of the Japan-American Treaty of Trade and Amity on June 17, 1854. The events opened Japan’s borders to trade and fostered relations between the countries.

“The citizens of Shimoda welcomed the crew of the Higgins with open arms,” said Cmdr. Ron Jenkins, commanding officer of Higgins. “It was an honor to have Higgins and her crew representing the U.S. Navy. From the parades, to the different sporting events, to the beautiful ceremonies, we could not be more thankful for their generous hospitality.”

Higgins Sailors represented the U.S. Navy during the three-day festival by volunteering, attending ceremonies, participating in various games, and enjoying the festival themselves.

On the final day of the festival, Sailors were able to participate in a Friendship Beach Volleyball Game and Friendship Tug-A-War Tournament with Shimoda locals.

Ensign Brienna Bruun, a participant in the tournaments said, “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the games. Everyone was so kind and welcoming, and it was great to be able to enjoy the day with the community.”

The city of Shimoda hosts the annual event which draws tourists from all over Japan in mid-May.

USS Higgins is assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th fleet’s principal surface force. DESRON 15 is responsible for the readiness, tactical and administrative responsibilities for 10 forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers as well as any surface unit conducting independent operations in the region.

​U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.