TOKYO – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) made a rare trip to Tokyo Friday to participate in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Disaster Management Drill.
The purpose of the drill was to enhance cooperation between the U.S. Navy and Tokyo Metropolitan Government and develop lines of communication for potential real-world disaster response operations in the future.
The drill began with a simulated earthquake striking the Tokyo region at 9am. Starting at Tokyo and Shinjuku stations, stranded TMG officials moved to designated disaster rally points. From there they were bused to Lumber Pier at noon, where Lassen arrived to transport them safely to Yokosuka Naval Base.
“We are honored to be a part of this drill and proved today that Lassen is a viable platform in disaster response operations,” said Cmdr. Chip Wrye, Lassen’s commanding officer. “These type of exercises and military exchanges help strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance and enhance our capabilities to respond to natural disasters.”
Lassen embarked 60 stranded TMG officials and 20 news media for the drill. Once on board, passengers received a presentation on Lassen’s capabilities as a support ship for humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations. They also were given tours of the ship for a first hand experience of day-to-day U.S. Navy operations including launching of an SH-60B Seahawk helicopter.
Following the two hour transit, passengers disembarked in Yokosuka and returned home to complete the drill. Lassen is assigned to Destroyer Squadron Fifteen (DESRON 15) and is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.