Mine warfare exercise 2JA concludes

) Mineman 1st Class Zachary Abel deploys a AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralization Vehicle (MNV) from the mine countermeasures ship USS Pioneer (MCM 9) during 2JA 2017 Mine Countermeasures Exercise (2JA-17 MCMEX). Photo: US Navy

Naval forces from the U.S. and Japan concluded ten days of mine countermeasure exercises on July 28.

2JA MCMEX is an annual bilateral exercise held between the U.S. and Japan and this year marked the 100th time that the U.S. and the Japanese have conducted bilateral mine countermeasures together, often conducting them twice a year, since bilateral exercises of this type began in 1962.

The exercise brought together surface and air mine countermeasure units from both nations, teamed up with explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel.

From personnel exchanges, to U.S. EOD embarking on mine countermeasures support ship JS Bungo (MST-464), to Japanese EOD launching out of a U.S. MH-53, the exercise emphasized working side-by-side.

As a culminating event, U.S. and JMSDF forces conducted combined MCM operations to clear a mine-free passage in one of the designated exercise areas.

As part of the exercise, a JMSDF and U.S. Navy personnel exchange was conducted to assist both navies in understanding each other’s minesweeping operations and general ship life. JMSDF Petty Officer 3rd Class Higuchi Shoma came aboard USS Pioneer (MCM 9) for four days of the exercise and had the opportunity to conduct mine sweeping and ship handling right alongside his U.S. counterparts.

Operations Specialist 1st Class James Delisle, a member of the MCMRON 7 staff, spent the exercise embedded aboard JS Bungo.

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