USS Defender Trains with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and French Marine Nationale
SASEBO, Japan – USS Defender (MCM 2) joined JS Amagiri (DD 154) and FNS Vendemiaire (F 734) for a passing exercise (PASSEX) off the coast of Kyushu, Japan Feb. 27.
The PASSEX provided a unique opportunity for a U.S. Navy mine countermeasure ship, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force escort ship and a French Marine Nationale light monitoring frigate to operate together.
"Exercises like this ensure that when we do have to work together as allies and partners, we know how each other operates and what each others capabilities are," said USS Defenders Commanding Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Todd Levant.
The event was the capstone of Vendemiaire’s visit to Sasebo.
PASSEX events are routinely coordinated with other navies when ships are nearby and are often as simple as rendering honors as ships pass each other.
Training during the event included basic communications and navigation drills that allowed the participants to enhance relations and improve their tactical capabilities.
"It’s great that Defender and her crew were picked to participate in the evolution with France and Japan,” stated Mineman Seaman Alden Curry, who was the Helmsman for USS Defender during the exercise. “It was a great honor for me and it benefits me by improving my skills as a helmsman and really improving my skills as a Sailor."
Defender is one of four Avenger class mine countermeasure ships that are forward deployed from Sasebo and are part of Mine Countermeasures Squadron Seven, and Task Force 76.