Boxer Returns to Okinawa
Story Number: NNS050804-10
Release Date: 8/4/2005 3:09:00 PM
From USS Boxer Public Affairs
OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), commanded by Capt. Thomas J. Culora, returned to Okinawa July 30 to prepare for the third annual Joint Air and Sea Exercise (JASEX), which emphasizes training to support stability throughout the Asian-Pacific region.
JASEX will be the third major exercise Boxer has participated in since it began its deployment. Boxer previously participated in exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), a multinational exercise designed to increase interoperability between the nations involved. Boxer began its deployment with exercise Talisman Saber 2005, an exercise geared towards U.S. and Australian force integration.
“So far this deployment has provided Boxer the opportunity to work with multiple services of several of our allies in the western Pacific,” said Cmdr. Mark Volpe, Boxer’s operations officer. “JASEX will provide us the chance to showcase our ability to function as part of a joint task force.”
During the seven–day exercise, Boxer, along with the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) Strike Group, U.S. Air Force 18th Wing, 5th Air Force and I Marine Air Wing, will have a unique opportunity to conduct joint training, combining carrier and amphibious operations. JASEX will be the first opportunity for the 844-foot long Boxer to conduct AV-8B Harrier II operations on its current deployment.
While in Okinawa preparing for JASEX, Boxer took on stores and embarked personnel. Sailors were also able to enjoy several MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation)-sponsored tours, including visits to the Churaumi Aquarium, the Gyokusendo Kingdom Village and Okinawa battle sites.
“I’m glad we came back to Japan on this deployment,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Brian Brush. “Japan has been a highlight of my tour. I always enjoy the sights. It is a very beautiful country.”
Boxer is the fourth of seven ships in the Wasp-class of large deck amphibious assault ships and is capable of performing a multitude of missions in support of national interests. The “Golden Gator” is scheduled to return to its homeport in September.
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