USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) participated in Undersea Warfare Exercise (USWEX) with U.S. and Japanese naval forces in the western Pacific Ocean June 21 to 25.
The exercise was conducted by elements from Commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet (CTF 70), Commander, Patrol & Reconnaissance Force, 7th Fleet (CTF 72), Commander, Submarine Force, 7th Fleet (CTF 74), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 and components from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The exercise focused on training and coordination of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) efforts between the maritime partners.
"This year during USWEX we continued to strengthen interoperability between the U.S. Navy and the JMSDF and trained against tactics, techniques and procedures to develop new concepts in ASW," said Lt. Justin Santos, a surface operations officer for DESRON 15. "Throughout this exercise, I believe everyone involved has executed in a professional manner and to the best of their expertise."
During the exercise, GW and JMSDF Sailors, who were embarked aboard GW during USWEX, were tasked with locating, tracking and completing simulated engagements with allied submarines in their vicinity.
Santos said that working with the JMSDF provided unique opportunities for all involved to learn from one another, furthering the U.S.-Japan relationship, and show how they can further their joint operational efforts.
"During USWEX we were afforded the opportunity of working side by side with our JMSDF counterparts on board GW," he said. "They were standing watch during the exercise in the same spaces we were and holding briefs throughout the day alongside us as well. Having them on board was a benefit to the success of this exercise."
Lt. Masanobu Kanamori, Undersea Warfare Staff escort for JMSDF's Flotilla 2, is one of the many JMSDF Sailors who has been on board during the exercise. He said while he was taken back by the enormity of the ship, and the sights and sounds of the flight deck, working, eating, and living on the GW contributed to the overall experience of USWEX.
"This has been a very big exercise and a great experience for me," he said. "I enjoyed being on board GW and working with the U.S. Navy Sailors. I learned a lot."
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation. Santos said he is optimistic about the two countries relationship in the present and the future.
"Our alliance with Japan demonstrates the strength in our commitment to one another and our ability to work together," he said. "This exercise is an example of just how strong our alliance really is."