By By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sarah Villegas, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Public Affairs
| | Nov. 30, 2017
171127-N-IO414-056 HYUGA-NADA SEA (Nov. 27, 2017) Mineman 1st Class Justin Crabtree, from Diamondhead, Miss., lowers a mine neutralization vehicle aboard the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Chief (MCM 14) into the water to track mines and simulate delivering an explosive package. Chief is participating in the annual bilateral mine countermeasures exercise 3JA with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force to increase proficiency and interoperability in MCM operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jordan Crouch/Released) (Photo by MC2 Jordan Crouch)
USS Chief (MCM 14), Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7 staff, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14 (HM-14) Detachment 2A, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) units successfully completed exercise 3JA Nov. 28.
The exercise, which lasted three days, was part of a series of exercises held between U.S. and Japan forces in order to increase proficiency and interoperability in mine countermeasure operations.
USS Chief hosted JMSDF members aboard to build bonds and share tactics on mine countermeasure operations. EODMU 5 embarked the Uraga class mine sweeper tender JS Uraga (MST-463) and staff members from MCMRON 7 embarked the Uraga-class mine sweeper tender JS Bungo (MST-464) in order to refine command and control functions as a team.
"These opportunities to train with our partners are invaluable,” said Capt. James Miller, Commodore, MCMRON 7. “They provide the chance to strengthen our alliance and unite our efforts in protecting this region. It’s imperative that we work together to sharpen our mine countermeasure capabilities since it’s a duty and responsibility that we share together.”
During 3JA combined forces ran a multitude of bilateral mine countermeasures tactics to increase proficiencies in sweeping, hunting, and mine detection.
This was the first exercise in which HM-14 and HM-111, a JMSDF airborne mine countermeasures squadron, simultaneously conducted mine hunting and sweeping operations alongside surface mine countermeasure forces in an exercise.
“Both units conducted successful missions and they were instrumental in the execution of the exercise,” said Miller.
USS Chief (MCM 14), with embarked MCROM 7 staff, sailed from its forward-deployed berth in Sasebo, Japan to participate in the exercise with their counterparts.
MCMRON 7 and USS Chief are part of Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.