ENS Thomas Ernst
ENS Thomas Ernst
Ensign Thomas Ernst was a U.S. Naval Academy exchange cadet at JNDA, and he built some fantastic relationships with Japanese cadets that continue until this day.
(U.S. Navy photo by Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Xavier Phommavong/Released)
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) – Sailors from USS Shiloh (CG 67), USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), and members of the Ship Repair Facility (SRF) Yokosuka recently toured the Japanese National Defense Academy (JNDA) or Boueidaigakko, Feb. 1.
One of Shiloh’s junior officers, Ens. Thomas Ernst, had a special interest in attending the visit. As a 2016 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Ernst reflected on the time he took at a semester abroad and when he studied at JNDA.
“As a U.S. naval officer serving in Japan, the professional and personal relationships I formed at JNDA will help to ensure strong allied operations,” said Ernst. “There is a good chance that sometime this year, a Japanese ship that USS Shiloh meets at sea will have a junior officer aboard who was a classmate of mine.”
The JNDA opened its doors in 1953 and is the only integrated institution to train Ground, Maritime and Air cadets as future Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) officers. The campus is perched atop Obaradai plateau consists of 30 buildings and directly faces Tokyo Bay.
A highlight of the tour was the large stained glass window of Mt. Fuji decorated with two thousand cherry blossoms at its base.
“The cherry blossoms symbolize the two thousand cadets of this special academy,” said Mai Matsumura, from the JNDA public affairs office.
The members on the tour recognized the USNA’s motto “Honor, Courage, Commitment” and how similar it is to the JNDA’s motto “Honor, Propriety, Courage.” The shared values of these allies continue to build relationships within the U.S. and Japan navies and maintain relationships for years to come.
Shiloh and Chancellorsville are forward-deployed to Japan in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. The Ship Repair Facility provides repairs and maintenance for ships within the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.
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