TOMAKOMAI, Japan – Mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Tomakomai, Japan for a port visit Feb. 10.
During the visit, Sailors will have the opportunity to take part in outdoor winter activities and visit the world famous Sapporo Ice Festival.
“My crew and I are grateful to the people of Tomakomai for welcoming us to this great city,” said Patriot Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Suzanne Schang. “Visiting Tomakomai will provide Sailors with the chance to gain an appreciation of the local culture and to engage with community members. We are also excited to be in this region during the Sapporo Ice Festival and are looking forward to making the journey to view the ice sculptures and experience the event.”
Schang will hold media availability onboard the ship and her crew will provide the media with escorted tours of the ship’s workspaces.
Approximately 15 Patriot Sailors will be playing a local team in a game of Broomball, a recreational ice game, Jan. 11. Broomball, originated in Canada, has a large international following, especially in Japan. In 2014, Tomakomai will be the host city for the Broomball World Championships tournament.
“A lot of people in the U.S. do not know much about Broomball, but I do; so when I heard there was chance for us to play in Tomakomai I was all for it,” said Mineman 3rd Class Sean McDermott. “This is going to be great visit. I am looking forward to getting a chance to go skiing, snowboarding and visit the ice festival, I’ve seen pictures of the festival and it looks amazing.”
“I think being able to attend the Sapporo Ice Festival is one of the things everyone is going to remember from this visit,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Apprentice Will Brown. “This event happens only once a year and I am excited that we have the chance to see it.”
Since departing from Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo Jan. 24 for its patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations, Patriot has visited the coastal city of Takamatsu, Japan for a four-day port visit Jan. 27-31 and Hachinohe, Japan for a two-day port visit Feb. 7-9.
As of 2012, Patriot has received five consecutive “Battle E” awards for battle effectiveness, an exemplary standard of excellence in the Navy.
Patriot is currently on a Mine Countermeasure Partnership Patrol in the 7th
Fleet area of operations and is one of four mine countermeasure ships forward deployed from Sasebo Japan.