US amphibious ships train with JMSDF counterparts in East China Sea

USS Ashland (LSD 48), USS Wasp (LHD 1), and JS Kunisaki (LST 4003) sail in formation during the cooperative deployment. Photo: US Navy

US Navy ships from the Wasp amphibious ready group (ARG) met up with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) amphibious transport dock ship, JS Kunisaki (LST 4003), for two days of exercises on January 11 and 12.

During the cooperative deployment, ARG ships and JS Kunisaki conducted communication and maneuvering drills off the west coast of Kyushu.

“We understood each other’s radio calls very clearly, and they were very quick with their responses. It was a routine operation just like working with another US vessel,” said Operations Specialist 1st Class Jose Gonzales, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 navigation assessor.

Capt. Jim McGovern, commodore, PHIBRON 11 also visited Kunisaki to meet with the crew and tour the ship.

“It was a great opportunity to visit Kunisaki and see in person how well she and the ships of the Wasp ARG can operate together,” said McGovern. “Our ability to work and train together with our JMSDF partners is a key enabler that ensures security and stability in the Indo-Pacific Region.”

Units in the Wasp ARG include the USS Wasp (LHD 1), amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20), and amphibious assault ship USS Ashland (LSD 48).

The Wasp ARG, is forward deployed to the US 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

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