USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group (ALCSG) participated in a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) in the Western Pacific June 10-14.
This PASSEX was focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW).
"During an ASW exercise, helicopters go out and play their roles, like dropping sonobuoys," said Lt. Jim Steffen, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9's submarine liaison officer. "It's DESRON's job to take all the information in and make the big picture. When it's all U.S. forces, it's easy; there's no language or equipment barrier."
To overcome such communication and equipment barriers between U.S. forces and Japanese during this exercise, the strike group participated in an officer exchange program, said Steffen.
"We have liaisons from the Japanese," he said. "We also sent [U.S. Navy] representatives over [to their ships]. It's good to have bilingual individuals to help us iron out some of the communication issues."
Steffen said it is important to include U.S. allies in exercises like these.
"Japan is a major ally in the Eastern hemisphere," he said. "It is important for us to maintain our proficiency with them. Coalition forces aren't [just] the future, they are now. We don't do anything by ourselves any more. Bilateral or multinational forces are the present."
Steffen said exercises like these help promote international relationships between the United States and its allies.
As part of the exercise, Rear Adm. Bill Goodwin, commander of ALCSG, visited the JMSDF ship JDS Chokai (DDF 176) to observe operations.
"It is important to train with our Japanese allies," said Goodwin. "Not only does it reinforce our commitment to support the people of Japan, it increases both militaries' abilities to cooperate with one another in realistic scenarios."
ALCSG is on a routine deployment to train with coalition partners to improve the ability to operate with naval forces from many nations.
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