OKINAWA, Japan – The forward-deployed amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) departed Okinawa, Japan, for operations in the Western Pacific Ocean, Jan 29.
Forty-eight hours after leaving Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan, Denver pulled into Okinawa, to take on supplies, equipment, and embarked the Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The ship became a hub of action as helicopters landed, amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) drove into the well deck, and Marines embarked the ship with all their gear.
During deployment Denver and the 31st MEU will be involved in training with Thailand’s Armed Forces for exercise Cobra Gold 2011(CG11). CG11 is a joint military exercise that involves amphibious operations, artillery training, tactical interoperability exercises and joint community service projects for the U.S. forces and the host country.
“We are enthusiastic and excited to go to another country and train with their forces,” said Captain Vincent Valdez of Beach Landing Team (BLT) 25, 31st MEU. “We’ll learn from them, and they’ll learn from us”.
Denver’s commanding officer, Capt. Mario Mifsud explained that he shares the enthusiasm of the officers and crew for the opportunity to visit Thailand and operate with an important ally in the Western Pacific.
“The neatest part is to see the uniqueness of our partners – what they bring to the table. Of course there are always different levels or degrees of how well we interoperate, so every chance that we have is a chance to improve that interoperability,” said Mifsud. “Of course it’s great for the crew to get to some of these ports. It always comes down to people interacting with people, and those established relationships are what we will rely on in the future to get things done if necessary. “