WATERS NEAR GUAM (NNS) -- The forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mustin (DDG 89) and USS McCampbell (DDG 85) completed Guam Exercise 2016 (GUAMEX) with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) Jan. 23.
"GUAMEX was a fantastic opportunity to hone our tactical skills in close cooperation with our JMSDF allies," said Cmdr. Thane Clare, commanding officer of USS Mustin. "Just as importantly, exercises like these build close personal and professional ties that strengthen our partnership at the Sailor-to-Sailor level, making us even more effective as we operate together at sea."
This annual training exercise allows JMSDF and U.S. Navy to work alongside each other in the international waters near Guam. The helicopter destroyer JS Ise (DDH 182) served as the JMSDF flagship for Rear Adm. Hiroshi Ito, commander, Escort Flotilla 4, during the exercise and was accompanied by six ships of various classes of JMSDF Escort Divisions 4 and 8. The training events spanned the anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-aircraft warfare areas, in some cases involving the protection of the flagship Ise.
"I'm always excited to work with our Japanese counterparts," said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Kevin Hughes, assigned to Mustin. "Working with them in the past, and now again, I'm impressed with the JMSDF personnel's professionalism and the proficiency of their sailors."
The crews of both Mustin and McCampbell enjoyed a brief visit to Guam, where they were joined by their Japanese counterparts from the JMSDF ships. Additionally, both countries exchanged liaison officers for the duration of the exercise.
Ensign Soon Kwon described his experience hosting one of the Japanese liaison officers aboard McCampbell.
"This exercise provided a great opportunity for the JMSDF and U.S. Navy to work on various tactics and the ability to work together as allies," Kwon said. "However, the most important takeaway was that it allowed JMSDF and U.S. Navy officers to learn about each other's cultures and create long-lasting relationships."
Mustin and McCampbell participated in GUAMEX as part of a routine patrol in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asian Pacific.
For more news from Commander Task Force 70, visit www.navy.mil/local/ctf70/.