US, Japanese navy ships conclude drills off Guam

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) leads U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships in formation during MultiSail 17. Photo: US Navy

U.S. Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships completed their participation in this year’s bilateral training exercise MultiSail 17 on March 10.

The six-day exercise consisted of surface action group maneuvers, anti-submarine training, and various other events that tested warfighting capabilities of each participant.

The exercise participants included the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Barry, USS Fitzgerald, USS Stethem, USS McCampbell and USS Mustin; Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyers JS Ikazuchi (DD 107) and JS Hatakaze (DD 171); and helicopters from Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51.

The exercise was led by Capt. Jeffrey A. Bennett, commander of DESRON 15, who was embarked on Mustin for the duration of the exercise.

“MultiSail is a great opportunity to conduct complex operations at sea between our ships in Destroyer Squadron 15, CTF 70 fixed and rotary wing aviation squadrons, CTF 72 maritime patrol aircraft, JMSDF partners, and U.S. Air Force aircraft,” Bennett said. “Being able to work bilaterally with the JMSDF not only strengthens our ties with Japan but it gives us an advantage in our tactics, capability and develops regional capabilities that provide a full range of options to succeed in defense everyone’s interests.”

During the six-day exercise, U.S. Navy and JMSDF units improved interoperability skills through detecting, locating, tracking and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land, and underwater in response to a range of mission areas.

Unlike previous MultiSail exercises, MultiSail 17 included in-port and at-sea training by personnel from the Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (NSMWDC).

“MultiSail 17 provided a great opportunity to improve our tactical abilities with the help of Warfare Tactics Instructors from SMWDC,” said Cmdr. Ed Angelinas, McCampbell’s commanding officer. “The exercise also helped us improve our interoperability skills through our interactions with JMSDF counterparts.”

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