SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, completed a two-day stop in Sasebo filled with all-hands calls and meetings with Sasebo-based units and area shore commands from Sept. 25-26.
Rowden made the visit to Sasebo, where many of the forward-deployed Amphibious Force 7th Fleet ships are stationed, to better understand forward-deployed readiness challenges and to discuss the role of the new Naval Surface Group Western Pacific organization.
Naval Surface Group Western Pacific will function as the advisory command in the Western Pacific to ensure ships and crews are trained and ready to complete necessary missions in the region, said Rowden. Rowden stressed the importance of having the building blocks to execute critical missions.
"We're going to make sure that we're focused up on our readiness both on the manning side, the training side, the equipping side and the certification side," said Rowden "So should the call come to respond to any event, whether it's combat operations or disaster relief, we'll be able to answer that call."
While in Sasebo, Rowden visited USS Germantown (LSD 42), which is undergoing a multi-month extended dry-dock ship's restricted availability; the Expeditionary Strike Group 7 flagship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6); and USS Green Bay (LPD 20). Rowden also visited the forward-deployed mine countermeasures force USS Chief (MCM 14), USS Patriot (MCM 7), USS Pioneer (MCM 9) and USS Warrior (MCM 10).
During the all-hands calls held with each ship, Sailors asked Rowden questions and voiced concerns they had had about training, manning and equipping forces in the Pacific. Rowden assured Sailors they would get the support and tools they needed to perform their jobs.
Amphibious Force 7th Fleet is the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, with a contingent of ships based in Sasebo, Japan and staff headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.
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