MCMRON-7 and JMSDF Focus on Combined Operations in Annual Mine Warfare Staff Talks
WHITE BEACH, Okinawa (NNS) -- Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, Commander, Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7, and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Commander (JMSDF), Mine Warfare Force concluded a three day mine warfare staff conference at CTF 76 headquarters Feb. 25.
This year's conference highlighted an increased focus on enhancing combined exercises to better integrate U.S. and Japanese forces and capabilities in a live-force environment. Interoperability, cooperation, and tactical development were key themes of the event.
"These talks are another example of the exceptional relationship enjoyed by the U.S. Navy and JMSDF, said Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet. "The fact that we can come together to discuss openly on how we can improve our core combat capabilities and interoperability in mine warfare and amphibious operations demonstrates our commitment to this alliance."
The intent for the staff talks is to provide a forum for the subject matter experts to meet and discuss different aspects of their mission objectives and their responsibilities and provide a forum to discuss coordination and training between U.S. and JMSDF mine warfare forces.
"Our ability to operate seamlessly with our JMSDF counterparts in such a critical area of the world is vital to maintaining stability and open seas in the Western Pacific" said Capt. Mike Dowling, commander of MCMRON-7. "We genuinely appreciate the professionalism and knowledge of our friends in the JMSDF Mine Warfare Force."
Both U.S. and JMSDF MCM ships pulled into White Beach where Sailors from both navies were provided tours and introductions of the ships as their respective staffs crafted plans for future operations. In the spirit of friendship, the two navies engaged in softball and enjoyed a cookout serving traditional American and Japanese barbeque.
MCMRON-7, commanded by Capt. Mike Dowling, is a combined readiness and tactical staff responsible for mine countermeasures in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The squadron consists of four Avenger-class minesweepers forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan, and a helicopter mine countermeasures detachment in Pohang, Republic of Korea.