OTARU, Japan – Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan concluded a visit to Otaru in the northern Japanese island prefecture of Hokkaido Feb. 10.
Prior to arrival, Antietam conducted routine exercises in the Philippine Sea alongside the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), to include a replenishment-at-sea with Mashu-class replenishment ship JS Oumi (AOE 426). These exercises and cooperative operations are aimed at enhancing interoperability between forward deployed naval forces and Allied forces in U.S. 7th Fleet.
“Without the support of the citizens of Otaru, organizations like the Self-Defense Force supporters association, and the government of Japan, this opportunity would not have been possible,” said Capt. Warren Smith, commanding officer, USS Antietam.
While at the port, the Antietam crew hosted a tour and reception for members of the local Otaru government and local news media organizations. The tour took visitors and reporters through the ship where subject matter experts explained the many ways the crew safely operates and navigates the ship.
In addition to hosting visitors, the Antietam’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) team arranged for tours to give the crew chances to experience the local culture and festival activities. The crew visited the Ice Festival in Sapporo and went on a skiing tour in Niseko.
“All the locals were very friendly,” said Religious Program Specialist Second Class Geno Macerelli, recounting his time exploring the museums and shops in Otaru. “They were more than happy to help you out when you were lost.”
Port visits are a critical mission for the U.S. Navy. This port visit facilitated the building of relationships and the exchanging of culture between the citizens and Sailors of Japan and Antietam Sailors. It also allowed for the demonstration of the life of a U.S. Navy Sailor and of the capabilities of a U.S. Navy cruiser.
The Antietam’s last visit to Hokkaido took place in February of 2019 when the ship arrived at the port of Ishikari for a routine port visit. Antietam’s recent visit to Otaru is the first time a U.S. Navy warship has conducted such a port visit in Otaru since USS Mustin (DDG 89) visited for the Snow Festival in 2018, making this a very special visit.
The Antietam is underway conducting routine operations and exercises building warfighting proficiency and increasing allied interoperability. Antietam is part of Commander, Task Force (CTF 70) which is theater strike warfare commander and theater air and missile defense commander.
CTF 70 is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with Allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo Pacific region.
|Date Posted:||02.10.2023 23:47|
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