By Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Public Affairs
SASEBO, Japan – Rear Adm. Brad Cooper wrapped up a multi-day trip visiting Amphibious Force 7th Fleet units, Feb. 1.
Cooper first met with USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Yokosuka and then visited the amphibious ships and mine countermeasures based in Sasebo. The engagements allowed him to meet face-to-face with Sailors and Marines of the Task Force/Expeditionary Strike Group, present awards for outstanding performance, and receive Sailor feedback.
His challenge to each ship’s crew was to set the pace across the entire Surface Force for ship handling and executing complex operations. He emphasized a number of principles to achieve that goal: teamwork, watchstanding vigilance, and procedural compliance.
“We should be the standard for ‘how to do it right,’” said Cooper. “And it starts with every maintenance check, every pre-underway checklist, knowing your equipment front and back, being able to conduct emergency procedures as a reflex, and using every means available to navigate safely."
A majority of the Sasebo-based ships have been undergoing intensive maintenance and training cycles to be prepared for upcoming operational tasking. Cooper said he was impressed how each ship is working to achieve a high level of readiness.
Cooper used the newest forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, USS Wasp (LHD 1), which transitioned from Norfolk to Sasebo over a six-month period of operations, as an example of crew resiliency.
“Wasp arrived here not long after a challenging 2016 deployment, a compressed maintenance period, F-35B Joint Strike Fighter testing, support to relief operations in the Caribbean, and thousands of miles of safe navigation,” said Cooper. “That takes leadership and focus. This is the spirit of this Task Force/ESG, and we have an incredible group of people serving forward.”
Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, is the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility. Amphibious Force 7th Fleet is responsible for the full range of expeditionary operations from disaster relief to crisis response.