YOKOSUKA, Japan - The guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) reconfirmed being sister ships with Japanese Ship Ikazuchi (DD 107) during a formal ceremony in Yokosuka, Japan December 22.
On hand for the ceremony was the commanding officer of USS Mustin, Cmdr. Michael V. Misiewicz, along with several members of his crew and Cmdr. Toshihiko Umekazu, commanding officer of Japanese Ship Ikazuchi and several Japanese sailors.
The ceremony commenced as distinguished visitors from JS Ikazuchi arrived, bringing two Kadomatsu trees. Kadomatsu trees are traditional Japanese decorations for the New Year to honor ancestral spirits or kami of the harvest. The trees were hand made by several sailors from JS Ikazuchi and were proudly displayed on the quarterdeck of Mustin. Sailors from USS Mustin assisted with proper placement of the trees, after which, the brief Kadomatsu ceremony was conducted. Guests were then escorted to the wardroom for presentation of sister ship certificates and holiday-themed refreshments.
“I am greatly pleased today to be able to participate in the traditional Kadomatsu ceremony and reconfirm the bond between USS Mustin and JS Ikazuchi as sister ships,” commented Cmdr. Misiewicz. “As we enter this joyous time of year let this ritual remind us of the very strong friendship between our two crews, our navies, our nations and our families who continue to sacrifice along with us daily to preserve peace and stability in the Pacific region.”
The ceremony was a way to not only celebrate the holiday season and the end of the year, but also a great culminating event for the two ships to re-commemorate the 50th anniversary year of the Treaty of Cooperation between the United States Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.
Mustin is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and patrols the 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting routine operations. Operating in the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean, U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, covering 48 million square miles, with approximately 60-70 ships, 200-300 aircraft, and 40,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any time.