SASEBO, Japan – Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Hideaki Yuasa and Capt. Tsutomu Okawa, Commanding Officer of JS Chokai, sister ship of the amphibious transport dock USS Denver, visited Denver in Sasebo, Japan, Dec. 22.
Capt. Mike Wettlaufer, Denver’s commanding officer, led Japanese officers and officials on a tour through the bridge, well deck, troop spaces and main machinery rooms.
Despite Denver’s current shipyard availability, which includes large amounts of shipboard maintenance and repair, Wettlaufer was happy to share not only his ship, but some stories as well.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to share sea stories and experiences with our host nation,” said Wettlaufer. “And in doing so we can continue close interactions with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.”
Providing the Japanese officers and officials the opportunity to tour their sister ship not only familiarizes them with US Navy operations, but strengthens the bond between the allied nations.
“It is always good to have amicable relationships with a host nation,” said Chief Petty Officer Marreco Clay. “The better one’s relations and communications are, the more we will be able to progress over time.”
Denver is part of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group which reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.