USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (RRCSG) took part in a passing exercise (PASSEX) with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in the Philippine Sea March 16-18.
JMSDF ships participating in the PASSEX were the JS Myoko (DDG 175), JS Hamagiri (DD 155), JS Yuugiri (DD 153) and JS Haruna (DDH 141). In addition to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), U.S. Navy ships participating in the exercise were USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60).
Additionally, Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 7; Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7; and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 participated in the exercise.
The goal of the exercise was for the RRCSG to work with their counterparts from the JMSDF in areas of mutual interest. Exercises included drills in communications, precision maneuvering, air defense and surface warfare tactics.
Ronald Reagan also conducted a fueling at sea with each of the four ships from the JMSDF, as well as a photo exercise and a pass in review.
"We value the close relationship with our counterparts in JMSDF as we work together to address regional issues of vital importance to both countries," said Rear Adm. Charles W. Martoglio, commander of the RRSG.
"The United States Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force have a unique relationship in that we have one of the most robust bilateral exercise programs between any two countries," added Martoglio. "This PASSEX is a chance for our two navies to enhance military-to-military relationships and is designed to improve both naval forces' capability for coordinated and bilateral operations."
In order to facilitate communication between the RRCSG and the JMSDF, both navies participated in an officer exchange program, said Martoglio. This ensured a seamless integration of forces from both the United States and Japan.
As part of the exercise, Capt. Terry B. Kraft, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer, also visited JS Myoko to observe operations.
"We share a friendship and closeness that is unique to our nations, and among maritime forces," said Kraft. "Our mutual understanding of commitments to each other under the security treaty is the reason for this incredible bond between our Sailors."
"It was particularly rewarding to provide refueling at sea practice for our Japanese counterparts," added Kraft.
The PASSEX allowed Command Master Chief (SW/AW) James DeLozier, Ronald Reagan's command master chief, to spend time aboard JS Myoko as well as host its Command Master Chief Osamu Natusme, aboard Ronald Reagan.
"I found that Master Chief Natsume and I share a lot of things in common when it comes to being a CMC," said DeLozier. "It was very interesting to see both the similarities and the differences between being aboard a JMSDF ship in comparison with our own ships. Being able to spend time on each other's ship and getting to know our JMSDF allies will help both navies work together for regional stability."
Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July, 2003, making it the ninth and newest Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named after the 40th U.S. president, and carries the motto of "Peace through Strength," a recurrent theme during the Reagan presidency.
The RRCSG departed San Diego Jan. 27 in order to fill the role of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), the Navy's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier, as it undergoes scheduled maintenance in Yokoska, Japan.
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