The U.S. Navy’s Ronald Reagan Strike Group and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Escort Flotilla 4 Battle Group participated in bilateral training in the South China Sea, during which units from both maritime forces sailed in formation, participated in replenishment-at-sea training, exchanged naval liaison officers and practiced maneuvering procedures.
Additionally, Rear Adm. Karl O. Thomas, Commander, Task Force 70, and CTF 70 personnel visited JS Kaga to speak with JMSDF Rear Adm. Tatsuya Fukuda, Commander, Escort Flotilla 4, about JMSDF and U.S. Navy interoperability and maritime unit cohesion.
The Ronald Reagan Strike Group is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Its units in the bilateral training were the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69). Escort Flotilla 4 Battle Group units included the helicopter destroyer JS Kaga (DDH 184), the Murasame-class destroyer JS Inazuma (DD 105) and the Akizuki-class destroyer JS Suzutsuki (DD 117).
“The teamwork and professionalism I have experienced by both CTF 70 and JMSDF sailors during this training operation has truly demonstrated how seamlessly we can integrate with our Japanese allies,” said Thomas. “Training with Escort Flotilla 4 was a fantastic opportunity to bring together our strike group with the JMSDF battle group and further the interoperability we have been building for years between our forces.”