Sasebo-based USS America enhances bilateral exchange

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Walter Estrada
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Walter Estrada

Sasebo-based USS America enhances bilateral exchange

by Lt. John Stevens
USS America (LHA 6)

SASEBO, Japan (Oct. 28, 2021) – USS America (LHA 6), the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, welcomed friends and partners from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) for a bilateral visit aboard America, Oct. 27.

Officers and Sailors from Ise and Commander, Escort Flotilla 2 (CCF 2) enjoyed a command brief, VIP tour and “Burger Wednesday” lunch as part of America’s first major in-port tour since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“We were honored to welcome Captain Miyazaki and several of his outstanding crew aboard America,” said Capt. Ken Ward, America’s commanding officer. “Our relationship with our JMSDF sister ship Ise is the cornerstone of our alliance and partnership with our host nation, and we sincerely look forward to many more exchanges and opportunities to grow that relationship, whether we’re pierside in Sasebo, or operating together at sea to preserve a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

During the tour, guests visited America’s vehicle storage area, flight deck, hangar bay, pilot house, primary flight control station, combat information center, medical facility, crew mess, and ship’s store.

“It was my honor and pleasure to visit our sister ship USS America, receive a brief, look around inside of the ship and enjoy ‘Burger Wednesday,’ said Capt. Koji Miyazaki, Ise’s commanding officer. “This was also a very good opportunity for our crews to enhance understanding USS America’s capability and U.S. Navy culture. We’re still in a challenging environment under COVID-19, however I strongly believe that our relationship between ships is a symbol for the JMSDF and U.S. Navy’s strong relationship.”

America Sailors visited Ise on Oct. 7, experiencing a Japanese curry lunch and comprehensive ship tour. Last December, Ise conducted a traditional kadomatsu (gate pine) exchange with America to celebrate the New Year.

America, lead ship of the America Amphibious Ready 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.

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