OMINATO, Japan – The crew of USS Patriot (MCM 7) concluded operations in the bi-lateral mine warfare exercise MINEX 2JA, July 28.
The exercise offered the opportunity for both the U. S. Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) to execute mine Warfare operations in a littoral environment.
Additionally, the exercise flexed the cooperation of the three components of Mine Countermeasures (MCM), Aviation, Surface, and Underwater, in a series of precisely coordinated events and tasking.
Patriot, USS Warrior (MCM 10), and Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM-14) Det. 2 represented Mine Countermeasures Squadron Seven as participants in the exercise.
This was Patriot’s third time involved in MINEX 2JA, and the first time the crew was tasked to sweep actual moored training mines. Patriot, along with two other JMSDF Minesweepers, successfully swept and hunted mine training shapes in conjunction with numerous units operating in close proximity.
“It’s a great boost of confidence to see that all the training has paid off,” observed Mineman 1st Class Brantley Hill, a deck safety observer. “Once the rig is deployed and your gear is in the water, all you have is your faith that your guys know their job and their work is good.”
One of the highlights of the 2JA experience was the USN–JMSDF softball tournament and picnic. Patriot and Warrior Sailors enjoyed the opportunity to share food and camaraderie with their Japanese Minesweeping counterparts. It gave Sailors from both sides a chance to converse
“MINEX 2JA was an excellent opportunity to jointly exercise the mine warfare capabilities of both nations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Emily Royse, Patriot’s commanding officer. “These types of exercises are important for our crews to maintain tactical and technical proficiencies, and the experience of working alongside such a capable bilateral partner is one that cannot be replicated in a simulator or a classroom.”
Patriot is an Avenger class mine countermeasures ship forward deployed in Sasebo, Japan since 1994.