Australian, Japanese, US minehunters conclude 3JA 2018

Photo: US Navy

Mine countermeasures ships from the navies of Australia, Japan and the US completed the annual Mine Warfare Exercise 3JA 2018, off the coast of Japan on November 27.

US Navy’s USS Chief and Australia’s HMAS Huon and HMAS Gascoyne were joined by a number of JMSDF ships for several days of at sea exercises.

3JA is an annual exercise series that is designed to increase proficiency in mine countermeasure operations between the U.S. Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and this year, for the first time, the Royal Australian Navy.

“These opportunities to train with our partners demonstrate the commitment we have to maintain peace and stability throughout the region,” said Lt. Cmdr. Fred Crayton, commanding officer of Chief.

The exercise culminated in a combined phase in which Chief and JMSDF ships coordinated to clear a route for ships through a simulated minefield in one of the designated exercise areas.

“Each year 3JA gets better because we are able to bring forth valuable lessons learned and develop relevant mine warfare scenarios,” said Crayton.

This year, 3JA was also used as an opportunity to enhance amphibious operations during mine warfare.

Lt. Donald Crisman, the operations officer of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), attended 3JA as an amphibious operations advisor for JMSDF forces to discuss amphibious operations timeline, resources and capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps and how it all factors into the mine warfare planning required to execute an amphibious landing at an objective.

“I learned a lot about JMSDF mine warfare forces, and our own MCM capabilities and planning requirements,” said Crisman. “I also learned a lot about the command and control capabilities of JMSDF mine warfare forces and how US and JMSDF units operate together in a combined operation.”

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