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ESG 1 Conducts ASW Exercise with Japanese Destroyers

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050729-04
Release Date: 7/29/2005 12:30:00 PM

By Lt. Ron Flanders, Expeditionary Strike Group 1 Public Affairs

ABOARD USS TARAWA IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC (NNS) -- Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 1 conducted a successful anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) July 25-26 off the coast of Hawaii.

The strike group’s flagship, USS Tarawa (LHA 1); the amphibious dock landing ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7); guided-missile cruiser USS Chosin (CG 65); guided-missile frigate USS Ingraham (FFG 61) and fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) teamed up with JMSDF destroyers Myoko (DDG 175), Makinami (DD 112) and Akebono (DD 108).

During the exercise, Tarawa and Cleveland acted as the high value units operating in a sea base, while Chosin, Ingraham, Santa Fe and the JMSDF destroyers practiced detection and prosecution of the fast-attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754), which simulated an enemy diesel sub. P-3C Orion patrol aircraft from Patrol Squardron (VP) 4, VP-9 and VP-47, flying out of Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, joined with a Japanese P-3 squadron to provide an aerial ASW capability.

The purpose of the exercise was for ESG 1 to exercise ASW planning and prosecution at the strike group level, including the coordination of allied Navy assets. According to Cmdr. Bryan Fratello, ESG 1’s submarine operations officer, the mission was accomplished.

“The exercise was a success,” Fratello said. “The ESG and its sea combat commander, Amphibious Squadron 1, demonstrated the ability to command and control multiple U.S. and allied surface ships to detect and prosecute a diesel submarine. We also exercised and improved communications between all of the ships in the exercise.”

The Japanese destroyers, who are on a three-month deployment taking them from homeports in Japan to San Diego and back, also were pleased with the results of the exercise, which they called Exercise Pacific Rainbow.

“This was a great opportunity for us to participate in task force operations with an American Expeditionary Strike Group,” said Cmdr. Katsuya Yamamoto of the JMSDF. “These chances are infrequent for us. This has been a good opportunity.”

In addition to the operational training benefits of the exercise, the ability to foster the strong alliance between the American and Japanese also presented itself during a special reception two days prior to the exercise. Several senior U.S. Navy flag officers attended the event, including Rear Adm. Jay Donnelly, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey Cassias, commander, Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet, and Rear Adm. Michael LeFever, commander of ESG 1.

“The exercise turned out to have double benefit,” LeFever said. “We improved and refined our ASW capabilities, while at the same time continuing to develop our relationship with the JMSDF, a very professional Navy and a loyal friend.”

“It is very important to strengthen the cooperation between our two navies,” said Yamamoto. “It is very important to the stability of the Western Pacific and East Asia.”

Contributing to that stability is a major goal of the Expeditionary Strike Group concept, presence with a purpose. Immediately following the successful theater ASW exercise, ESG 1 departed the Hawaii operating area and headed west, toward the Western Pacific area of operations.

“The U.S. Navy has maintained a presence in the Western Pacific for a century and a half. With the sea lanes there being so vital to world economies through trade, it is imperative that we promote peace and stability there,” LeFever said. “Having increased the overall anti-submarine warfighting capability of our strike group, and our proficiency working with the JMSDF, we are even more prepared to deal with any threats that come our way.”

Expeditionary Strike Group 1 is an adaptive, lethal and agile force consisting of more than 5,500 Sailors and Marines embarked aboard six ships and a submarine. Centered on the mobility and flexibility of the Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 1 ships; Tarawa, USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) and Cleveland and the proven striking power of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable). ESG 1 also adds the capabilities of the guided-missile cruiser Chosin, guided-missile destroyer USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), guided-missile frigate Ingraham and the fast-attack submarine Santa Fe. Commanded by a flag officer, ESG 1 is a relevant tool for today’s threat environment, and can conduct operations across the spectrum of warfare or humanitarian operations.

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