SASEBO, Japan - Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces, completed a two-day stop in Sasebo filled with all hands calls with Sasebo-based units and meetings with ship-support organizations from Apr. 11-12.
Rowden made the visit to Sasebo, where many of the ships of the forward-deployed Amphibious Force 7th Fleet are stationed, to better understand forward-deployed readiness challenges and share the tenets of the new Surface Force Strategy.
“We all recognize that the operational tempo in the Forward-Deployed Naval Force is not easy, but we equally recognize that we have the Navy’s most talented serving here to get these ships ready and meet the missions as directed by 7th Fleet,” said Rowden. “We are in an age where control of the sea is not guaranteed – and so it is incumbent on each of you to take on a warfighter ethos, to be ready to deliver offensive combat power or defensive capability at a moment’s notice.”
Rowden visited amphibious ships USS Germantown (LSD 42) in the midst of a multi-month extended dry-dock ship’s restricted availability, the Expeditionary Strike Group 7 flagship, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), USS Ashland (LSD 48) and mine sweeper USS Chief (MCM 14), one of four mine sweepers that make up the forward-deployed mine countermeasures force.
He stressed to Sailors during all hands calls that having a capable watch team, one that can respond as necessary to an attack, can mean the difference in the survivability of ship. He emphasized that each Sailor on a crew has an important role and should work diligently to better his or her level of knowledge and expertise.
“The Germantown Sailors thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to share the maintenance and modernization of this forward deployed LSD with Vice Adm. Rowden,” said Cmdr. Severn Stevens, commanding officer of USS Germantown (LSD 42). “We recognize that we are part of the larger surface force strategy to provide offensive capability and forward presence in close coordination with the US Marine corps. We are looking forward to completing this availability and returning to operations in 7th Fleet as part of Expeditionary Strike Group 7.”
Amphibious Force 7th Fleet is the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, with a contingent of ships based in Sasebo Japan and staff headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.