ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class, guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96) and the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Medgar Evers (T AKE 13) participated in a passing exercise (PASSEX), July 18, with the Japanese destroyer JDS Harusame (DD 102) and cadet training ship JDS Kashima.
The four ships met, July 18, in the Virginia Capes to conduct PASSEX, which was designed to help build partnership capacity and increase cooperation between the two navies. The exercise consisted of a junior officer personnel exchange, small boat operations, a gunnery exercise, a photo exercise, and an underway replenishment.
"The exercise was a great experience for the officers involved in the exchanges, as well as for those who were involved in the formation maneuvers, whether they were ship handling, communicating, or driving," said Cmdr. Martin Robinson, Bainbridge commanding officer. "It is not every day that Sailors get to operate with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF). Events such as PASSEX allow us to strengthen our global partnerships."
An integral part of ensuring a cooperative effort in times of crisis is the forging of bonds between the Sailors. During PASSEX, both the American and Japanese crews exchanged some of their personnel to enable them to experience Navy life on the other nation's ship.
"It is always eye-opening being able to see how other navies operate and being able to bond with other maritime professionals," said Lt. j.g. Michael Karafotis. "I am thankful for the experience and hopeful for the opportunity to do it again."
"It was amazing to watch the coordination of tactical maneuvering from the Japanese point of view," added Ens. Laura Cruz. "Even with a language barrier, we are able to perform and work as a group. It was amazing to see first hand."
Harusame and Kashima are based out of the JMSDF naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, a port city just south of Yokohama, also home to a number of U.S. forward-deployed assets. This exercise was part of a larger Japanese training cruise which began in May. Prior to the rendezvous with Bainbridge and Medgar Evers, Harusame and Kashima made a port visit in Newport, Rhode Island.
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