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MSO Yaeyama Class

The Yaeyama-class minesweepers, including JDS Tsushima (MSO 302) and JDS Hachijou (MSO 303), are based out of the JMSDF naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, a port city just south of Yokohama, also home to a number of U.S. forward-deployed assets.

USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Patriot (MCM 7) returned to Sasebo 17 February 2007 after a successful three-day passing exercise (PASSEX) with Japanese maritime assets. The two U.S. forward-deployed mine countermeasures ships departed Kure, Japan Feb. 15 after a brief port visit and joined two Yaeyama-class minesweepers from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, Tsushima and Hachijou.

The multi-ship training evolutions included communication drills, precision tactical maneuvering and mine sweeping. A significant part of any successful bi-lateral exercise is the forging of personal relationships between the country's service members, according to senior leaders of both nations. Two crewmembers from each ship conducted a personnel exchange to allow those crew members to witness Navy life from of their bi-lateral counterparts. Bi-lateral exercises like this enable participating military forces to increase interoperability, and allow the United States to demonstrate its commitment to its allies, according to senior leaders of all ships involved. The three-day exercise allowed each of the four ships to simultaneously perform a wide range of minesweeping skills, evolutions essential to their role in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility



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