Blue Ridge Hosts JS Hatakaze Operations Crew 
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian Dietrick, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Public Affairs 
YOKOSUKA, Japan - The radio and combat information center crew from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Hatakaze (DD 171) visited U.S. 7th Fleet's command ship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), to tour Operations Department spaces during a subject matter expert exchange May 17.

Along with Cmdr. Hideki Sekigawa, JS Hatakaza's commanding officer, the group also included operations and radio officers and their command master chief.

"Despite the language barrier, our two navies work better together than any other two navies in the world." said Capt. Daniel Grieco, Blue Ridge's commanding officer.

The tour started on the main deck where they were briefed on the ship's defensive weapons and their capabilities. They then visited the flight deck where the primary and secondary missions of the ship's two SH-60F helicopters were discussed.

"It was a very unique experience to hear how they train and operate and how it may differ, if any, from us," said Ensign Chelsea Hassett. "It was nice to see how excited they were to see our ship and how it operates."

The tour proceeded to the pilot house where Grieco discussed the capabilities of our radar and navigational equipment.

After the tour, the group headed to the wardroom to discuss past, present and future operations.

"During Operation Tomodachi, our navies activated very quickly and were able to work side by side to get the job done," said Grieco.

After Sekigawa thanked the Blue Ridge and her crew for their efforts during Operation Tomodachi, the two commanding officers exchanged gifts and expressed that they look forward to working with each other in the future.
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