US and Japanese military leaders embarked Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) Nov. 18 during Exercise Keen Sword 15.
Vice Adm. Robert Thomas Jr., commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Vice Adm. Eiichi Funada, commander in chief, Maritime Self-Defense Fleet, and other military leaders paid a visit to the carrier. Thomas and Funada met with Rear Adm. John Alexander, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet and Capt. Greg Fenton, commanding officer of George Washington, as well as other commanders, to review the performance of the George Washington (GW) Carrier Strike Group and JMSDF counterparts and discuss future plans for cooperation.
The 2015 Keen Sword exercise improved bilateral cooperation significantly when JMSDF Takanami-class destroyer JS Sazanami seamlessly integrated with the GW strike group during a bilateral training cruise in October and November leading up to Keen Sword. To further increase the bilateral integration, JMSDF Commander, Escort Force (CCF) 2 operated as the sea combatant commander for the exercise, employing tactics and controlling the scheme of maneuver for the strike group’s escort ships.
Approximately 11,000 U.S. personnel participated in Exercise Keen Sword 15, including those assigned to U.S. Forces Japan Headquarters, 5th Air Force, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, U.S. Army Japan and III Marine Expeditionary Force.
Press release, Image: US Navy