NR CNFJ HQ conducts Far-East Security Symposium 2019

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gabriel S. Weber/Released
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gabriel S. Weber/Released

NR CNFJ HQ conducts Far-East Security Symposium 2019

by Petty Officer 1st Class Gabriel Weber
Navy Reserve, Commander Naval Forces Japan, Headquarters

MINNEAPOLIS – Navy Reserve, Commander Naval Forces Japan (NR CNFJ) Headquarters concluded the annual Far-East Security Symposium (FESS) at Navy Operational Support Center Minneapolis, Oct. 27.

More than 170 Sailors assigned to NR CNFJ gathered in Minneapolis for the four-day event to enhance the unit’s overall mission readiness. NR CNFJ is the Navy Reserve unit which supports the U.S. Navy’s shore installations in Japan, Singapore and Diego Garcia.

“Our primary focus for this year’s FESS is the practice of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief,” said Cmdr. Bruno Riboni, the event coordinator for FESS 2019. “We were able to bring together senior leadership from a variety of units with interests in the region, as well as many of our assigned Sailors from around the globe.”

NR CNFJ Sailors provide critical support to the active-duty component throughout the year. During exercises like Keen Edge, one of the largest joint and bilateral exercises in the region, this includes manning the Regional Operations Center (ROC) and Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) at the various shore installations throughout the Japan region.

“FESS gives us the opportunity to conduct a mini-exercise to simulate the interaction between the ROC and EOCs,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Kurth. “We want this training to be as realistic as possible so that our Sailors can integrate seamlessly to effectively complete the work assigned.”

This ability to integrate is essential not only for exercises like Keen Edge, but for real-world events. Following the 2010 earthquake in Japan and the subsequent damage to the Fukushima nuclear reactor, Reserve Sailors from NR CNFJ played critical roles in supporting Operation Tomodachi, the U.S. Navy’s response to the regional crisis.

“We want our Sailors to know that real-world crises can and do happen, and we need to be ready to respond like we did during Operation Tomodachi,” Kurth added. “These training opportunities ensure that we are ready and able to do just that.”

For some of the participants, FESS 2019 provided the first opportunity to learn the systems and processes involved.

“The most significant thing I’ve learned is how the ROC would function during a natural disaster scenario,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Manuel Bueno. “The experience is valuable, and training in a simulated environment means we will know exactly what to do when it’s time to go forward.”

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