Commander, US 7th Fleet Visits Misawa Air Base

Story Number: NNS141216-02Release Date: 12/16/2014 10:39:00 AM
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By Mary Mattingly, Naval Air Facility Misawa Public Affairs

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan (NNS) -- Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visited U.S. and Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) units at Misawa Air Base Dec. 15.

Thomas took the opportunity to learn about the different work centers that help the units accomplish their missions while expressing his appreciation to service members and their leadership during the visit.

Thomas's first stop was with the Yellow Jackets of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138, where he was given a brief on squadron operations and a tour of an EA-18G Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Aircraft

He also met with the Fighting Marlins of Patrol Squadron (VP) 40, where he was given a tour of a P3C Orion long-range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft.

"What an outstanding opportunity it was for VP-40 to host Vice Adm. Thomas and highlight all the great things that the Fighting Marlins are doing on behalf of 7th Fleet, our Navy, and the nation," said Cmdr. Erik Estenson, VP-40 commanding officer. "We appreciate the time he spent with us, engaging directly with our Sailors and thanking them for all they do. That interaction will surely be a highlight of their deployment."

Thomas then visited with Sailors assigned to Commander, Task Force 72 where he witnessed a demonstration of the P-3 Aircrew Tactical Team Trainer, or PACT 3, a low-cost, compact, training device that makes anti-submarine warfare proficiency training easier for deployed P-3 Orion aircrews.

Thomas met with Col. Timothy Sundvall, commander of the 35th Fighter Wing, where he was given a brief on the combat-ready F-16CM fighter wing composed of nearly 3,100 personnel that sustains forces and facilities worth more than $2 billion. Thomas was given a tour of an F-16 Fighting Falcon after the brief.

Thomas concluded his visit by meeting with senior JSDF leadership. They discussed future bilateral military exercises that will focus on increasing interoperability efficiency between the U.S. Navy and JSDF.

During his visit, Vice Adm. Thomas handed out his personal coin to many Sailors who had been pointed out by their leadership for significant accomplishments.

VAQ-138 and VP-40 are currently deployed to Misawa and based out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

For more news from Naval Air Facility Misawa, visit

For more news from Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan, visit

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