SOUTH CHINA SEA -- The Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) conducted a transit through the South China Sea, Oct. 14.
Germantown steamed near the Spratly Islands, an archipelago claimed by multiple countries; China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan, all shore economic interests in the region.
“Regularly conducted patrols like these protect the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all countries,” said Lt. Blake Wanier, operations officer of Germantown.
Prior to the transit, Germantown participated in Amphibious Landing Exercise, an annual U.S.-Philippine military bilateral exercise that combines amphibious landing and live-fire training with humanitarian civic assistance efforts to strengthen interoperability and working relationships. This exercise allows U.S. Sailors and Marines to share tactics and capabilities with their Filipino counterparts.
Germantown, with the embarked Combat Logistics Battalion of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.