Monday, August 24, 2020

CTF 70: U.S., Japan Build On 60 Years Of Regional Cooperation

I recall vividly my visit to Sasebo, Japan in 1971 while stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63).

The Japan port of call was a relief from the long and hard days we spent on “Yankee Station,” off the coast of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, pounding the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong in support of the American and South Vietnamese troops in-country.

The Japanese had been my father’s bitter enemy in World War II, but the old UDT chief frogman was most interested in my visit to our post-war ally and he asked me to write and tell him all about my time in Sasebo and Nagasaki.

I had a grand time in Japan, and I’ve maintained my interest in the country after all these years.

I’ve read numerous books on Japan and I read the online Japanese Times (in English). I’ve met Japanese military people in Washington D.C., and I’ve met Japanese students who were studying in Philadelphia and Japanese tourists who visited Philadelphia. I also correspond with Japanese readers of my website.

So I was interested in reading what the U.S. Navy is doing today in Japan and I read the below piece put out by the Commander, Task Force (CTF) 70 Public Affairs Office:  

U.S., Japan Build on 60 Years of Regional Cooperation

The Symbolizing the strength of the two nation's 60-year alliance, the cooperation between forward-deployed naval and air forces, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) represent ongoing combined operations throughout the Indo-Pacific.

"The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group routinely conducts operations to support our nation's commitment to regional stability and freedom of the seas," said Capt. Pat Hannifin, commanding officer, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). "Seamless integration with our allies ensures a lethal and flexible global force, answering the call for prompt and sustained combat operations from the sea. We have utmost respect for our Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force partners and are proud to stand with them on watch in the Western Pacific."

Throughout the operation, Ikazuchi and the Reagan Strike Group operated and trained together, conducting integrated flight operations, high-end tactical training, maritime defense exercises, and a replenishment-at-sea. Ikazuchi and Reagan were also joined by the America Expeditionary Strike Group to enhance integrated operations across a multi-domain warfighting environment. This training strengthened collective integration efforts in support of international norms that foster peace and stability.

Professional integrated engagements allow regional allies the opportunity to build upon existing strong relationships, and reinforce the international rules-based order.

"The Japan-US Alliance contributes to maintaining regional peace and stability," said Cmdr. Sugiyama Yasuhiro, commanding officer, JS IKAZUCHI, "The bilateral exercise such as we conducted will make our relationship stronger. We are making steady progress to realize the Free and Open Indo-Pacific."

Previous integrated operations this year include USS America (LHA 6) with JS Kunisaki in January; four Destroyer Squadron 15 ships with JS Suzunami and Sawagiri in February; USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) with JS Terazuki in April and again with JS Kashima and Shimayuki in June; the USS Reagan Carrier Strike Group with JS Teruzuki during a trilateral exercise in July; a mine countermeasure exercise involving USS Pioneer (MCM 9), USS Patriot (MCM 7), and JS Uraga and Bungo also in July; and most recently integrated operations with USS Mustin (DDG 89) and JS Suzutsuki which concluded August 18th.

During the operation, Reagan also conducted joint integrated training with United States Air Force B-1B Lancers. Collaboration between joint service resources adds an additional layer of training value and ensures operational commanders have a more diverse field of options to complete any given mission.

The United States remains committed to working with regional allies and partners to protect the rights, freedoms, and lawful use of the seas by all states. Exercises and operations stand for a free and open Indo-Pacific, which the United States has supported, alongside its allies and partners for more than 70 years.

USS America (LHA 6), the flagship of the America Expeditionary Strike Group, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group, consists of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54).

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed carrier strike group and one of America's most visible symbols of resolve. Operating together alongside allies and partners strengthens each nation's collective commitment to international rules-based order.

Note: In the above U.S. Navy photo the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group joined Japan's Murasame-class destroyer JS Ikazuchi (DD 107) to conduct joint integrated operations in the Philippine Sea, Aug. 15, as part of ongoing shared commitments to regional stability through cooperation. 

You can click on the above and below U.S. Navy photos of the joint operations, as well as a photo of the USS Kitty Hawk, circa 1970:

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