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Flagship’s Arrival in Manila Marks Renewed Cooperation for US, Philippine Navies

U.S. 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and embarked 7th Fleet staff arrived in Manila, March 13, for the ship’s first port visit to the Philippines in three years. As the talks aboard Blue Ridge will provide opportunity for professional exchanges, many Filipino-American Sailors will also have the chance to reconnect with their heritage during the port visit.

 

MANILA, Philippines (March 13, 2019) – Quartermaster Seaman Irish Catibog, from Guam, performs her duties as a lookout aboard U.S. 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) as the ship arrives for a port visit to Manila, Philippines. Blue Ridge is the oldest operational ship in the Navy, and as 7th Fleet command ship, is responsible for fostering relationships within the Indo-Pacific Region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McKay)

 

MANILA, Philippines (March 13, 2019) Capt. Eric J. Anduze, from Manati, Puerto Rico, commanding officer of the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), answers questions from media representatives after arriving in Manila, Philippines, March 13, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Patrick Semales)

 

The Blue Ridge and 7th Fleet team undertook maritime cooperative activities with the Philippine Navy BRP Davao Del Sur LD602 shortly before arriving in Manila to reaffirm longstanding ties with the counterparts in the Philippine Navy.

MANILA, Philippines (March 13, 2019) – Philippine Navy frigate BRP Davao Del Sur LD602 passes in front of U.S. 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) shortly after completing a cooperative deployment en route to Manila, Philippines. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan McKay)

 

Representatives from the 7th Fleet staff met with counterparts from the Philippine Navy for staff talks, aboard Blue Ridge.

MANILA, Philippines (March 18, 2019) – U.S. 7th Fleet Deputy Commander Rear Adm. Ted LeClair welcomes Philippine Navy Vice Commander Rear Adm. Rommel Jude Ong aboard U.S. 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam K. Thomas)

 

During the visit, 7th Fleet and Blue Ridge Sailors spent time playing a friendly basketball game with a local college, and reading to children in local neighborhoods around Manila.

MANILA, Philippines (March 15, 2019) – Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Tyjhay McCain, from South Bend, Ind., and Mark Sangalang leap for the tip off of a goodwill basketball game between U.S. 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and the Colegio de San Juan, Letran Knights in Manila, Philippines. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam K. Thomas)

 

MANILA, Philippines (March 16, 2019) – Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Michael Flores, from Santa Paula, Calif., attached to U.S. 7th Fleet Flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), reads a story to children at Gawad Kalinga Munting Pamayanan during a community relations event. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Patrick Semales)

 

More than 150 Filipino-American Sailors serve aboard as part of the 7th Fleet and Blue Ridge team and many took the opportunity to reconnect with both relatives and their heritage during the port visit.

Ensign Samantha Angosta-Westley says, “I feel that we’re really committed to our allies. It means the Philippines matters to the U.S. The Navy took the time to schedule to visit the country and make sure they know that we support them.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Tuazon’s hometown in Philippines is Bulacan, and it is San Diego, California in the United States. He has had three years in service.

Seaman Christen Castro, whose hometown in Philippines is Baguio City, says that being in the Navy has taught her to be a leader and a role model.

Lieutenant Commander Patricia Cunanan, originally from Manila, Philippines, has had 24 years in service. She says, “In the 24 years that I’ve been in the Navy, it makes me feel proud that I’m doing everything I can to make sure
I make my family and friends back home feel proud of everything that I’ve accomplished so far.”

Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders of various backgrounds have served in the U.S. Navy since the early 19th century, including those of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Southeast Asian, Indian and Polynesian heritage. According to Navy statistics, there are approximately 25,000 Asian-American and Pacific Islander Sailors currently serving. Among those who served in the U.S. Navy is Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., the former commander, U.S. Pacific Command. Before his recent retirement, he was the highest-ranking Japanese-American to serve in the U.S. Navy.

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/03/18/flagships-arrival-in-manila-marks-renewed-cooperation-for-us-philippine-navies/ U.S. Navy

Sailing side by side the JMSDF–Strengthening Interoperability with a key Ally!

By Rear Adm. Karl Thomas, Commander, Task Force 70

“Launch the alert 15, side 203, initial vector 240” crackles over the 1MC (the ship’s loudspeaker system) early in the morning.  An unknown air contact has been detected and is closing the force. Sailors from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) spring into action across the strike group. U.S. Navy pilots and aircrew scramble to their jets, U.S. Navy and JMSDF leadership discuss the threat on the watch floor onboard USS Ronald Reagan, and radars from U.S. and Japanese ships probe the sky for the contact. In this case the unknown air contact was just one of many training scenarios the Ronald Reagan Strike Group conducted with the JMSDF this past week demonstrating some very real interoperability. JMSDF Commander, Escort Division (CCD) 6 and JS Kirishima joined our Battle Force alongside USS Antietam, USS Benfold, USS Milius and USS Curtis Wilbur and fulfilled air, surface and subsurface responsibilities, increasing the overall strength of our aggregated force.

As an E-2 Hawkeye aviator, I spent much of my career managing aircraft across warfare areas and building situational awareness for the Strike Group Commander.  I enjoyed having that responsibility to manage the big picture.  Now, it doesn’t get any bigger than having a team of experts that control the forces operating in the Western Pacific waterways that directly impact the world’s global economy, stability and prosperity. Providing security in a free and open Indo-Pacific for all mariners requires a team effort.

It was absolutely exhilarating to watch the teamwork as all the pieces come together this past week. JS Kirishima participated in air defense and communications exercises with strike group ships.  Her air controllers provided control for Air Wing aircraft, and along with USS Antietam and USS Milius, she supported USS Ronald Reagan with flight operations.  Additionally, a U.S. Navy SH-60S Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Twelve (HSC-12) demonstrated how seamlessly our ships and aircraft can work together when it landed and refueled on JS Kirishima.  Sharing experiences and lessons while exercising with our partners and allies is our surest way to strengthen naval power at and from the sea.

My staff and I had the opportunity to work directly with the JMSDF CCD6 staff and I witnessed first-hand how exchanging liaison officers accelerates our learning.  The exchanges included JMSDF CCD 6 liaison officers working alongside Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 in Sea Combat onboard Ronald Reagan integrating our cruisers and destroyers.  CCD6 officers also embarked USS Antietam to increase air defense interoperability throughout the strike group.  The deep interoperability we have built over the years through exercises and bilateral training was clearly evident in CCD6 and JS Kirishima’s seamless integration into our strike group operations this past week.

This is the sixth carrier I’ve served on and it is extremely gratifying each day at sea to watch our crews operate with precision and professionalism.  Seamlessly coordinating with our allies in today’s highly technical information driven environment is even more rewarding.  Every time we work with our Japanese allies we each learn from one another, which in turn makes our alliance stronger.  I look forward to the next opportunity to host the JMSDF, or Kaijo Jieitai as they are known in Japan, onboard Ronald Reagan and to train alongside their highly professional ships and Sailors.

 

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/08/30/sailing-side-by-side-the-jmsdf-strengthening-interoperability-with-a-key-ally/ parcher

End of World War II Began Era of Peace

By Rear Adm. John Fuller
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Commander, Task Force Energy and Environment, RIMPAC 2016

It has been just about a month since we concluded the 25th Rim of the Pacific Exercise as the key host site for Commander, U.S. Third Fleet and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. RIMPAC was an impressive exercise and gathering—where more than two dozen nations and 25,000 men and women built capable, adaptive partnerships.

RIMPAC 2016 was big in scope and scale, and the level of international cooperation was especially impressive when viewed through the historical WWII lens we have in Pearl Harbor.

PEARL HARBOR (March 30, 2014) An aerial view of Pearl Harbor showing the Battleship Missouri Memorial, left, Ford Island Field Control Tower, center, and the USS Arizona Memorial, right. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (March 30, 2014) An aerial view of Pearl Harbor showing the Battleship Missouri Memorial, left, Ford Island Field Control Tower, center, and the USS Arizona Memorial, right. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)

 

Each day I can look out over Pearl Harbor and see the USS Arizona Memorial facing the Battleship Missouri Memorial. That iconic image, representing the two Navy ships most associated with the beginning and end of the Second World War in the Pacific, helped me reflect on what our Navy achieved during RIMPAC 2016­—and consider this week’s 71st anniversary for the end of that war.

Among RIMPAC 2016 many historic highlights, navies from Italy, Germany and Denmark participated for the first time. Seven decades ago, both Italy and Germany—then Axis powers—waged war against their neighbors, including Denmark. Today, Italy and Germany are among our country’s closest friends and allies, along with Great Britain and France, and many other free democracies.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (Aug. 2, 2016) Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force guided-missile destroyer JS Chokai (DDG 176) crew poses for a group photo during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force photo by Ryo Tanaka)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (Aug. 2, 2016) Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force guided-missile destroyer JS Chokai (DDG 176) crew poses for a group photo during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force photo by Ryo Tanaka)

 

Unfathomable in the 1940’s, but a fact of life today, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) played a key role in RIMPAC 2016, leading the Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response Task Force. Japan, once an imperial power, part of the Axis powers, and led by a totalitarian government, is today a robust democracy and a cornerstone for maintaining stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

I found it especially poignant when U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, visited the Japanese-led HADR command center on Ford Island during the exercise. Kennedy’s father, President John F. Kennedy, was a World War II Navy hero who fought against Japan in the Pacific. Today, we routinely plan, maintain, train and operate closely with our JMSDF friends.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 9, 2016) U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), her Majesty's Canadian ship (HMCS) Vancouver (FFH 331), Republic of Korea ships (ROKS) Kang Gam Chan (DDH 979) and Sejong the Great (DDG 991), Japanese ship (JS) Hyuga (DDH 181), and Her Majesty's Australian ship (HMAS) Warramunga (FFH-252) participate in a photographic exercise (PHOTOEX) as part of a multilateral exercise in the Hawaii operating area. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 9, 2016) U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), her Majesty’s Canadian ship (HMCS) Vancouver (FFH 331), Republic of Korea ships (ROKS) Kang Gam Chan (DDH 979) and Sejong the Great (DDG 991), Japanese ship (JS) Hyuga (DDH 181), and Her Majesty’s Australian ship (HMAS) Warramunga (FFH-252) participate in a photographic exercise (PHOTOEX) as part of a multilateral exercise in the Hawaii operating area. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

RIMPAC 2016 was the 25th iteration of the exercise. We look forward to RIMPAC 2018 and many more RIMPACs to come. In fact, RIMPAC 2020 will coincide with another anniversary milestone: the 75th commemoration for the end of World War II in the summer of 1945.

In addition to commemorating the end of the war in the Pacific this week, we are approaching another historic milestone: the 75th anniversary for the attack on Pearl Harbor that marked the United States’ entry into World War II.

As we assemble for future gatherings to ‘honor the past and inspire the future,’ which is the theme for the 75th commemoration, we must not miss an opportunity to take in the living history with those brave but humble WWII veterans. We must commemorate their sacrifices that ultimately cast the mold for the peace and prosperity we enjoy today.

GAETA, Italy (July 15, 2016) Sailors heave mooring lines aboard USS Porter (DDG 78) as the ship arrives in Gaeta, Italy for a scheduled port visit July 15, 2016. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)

GAETA, Italy (July 15, 2016) Sailors heave mooring lines aboard USS Porter (DDG 78) as the ship arrives in Gaeta, Italy for a scheduled port visit July 15, 2016. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)

 

Hundreds of thousands of Americans fought valiantly alongside other Pacific allies—beginning in earnest with the Battle of Midway and moving steadily west and south from Pearl Harbor across the Pacific from the spring of 1942 to the fall of 1945. The war ended 71 years ago with Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz aboard Adm. William Halsey’s 3rd Fleet flagship, USS Missouri (BB-63), for the signing of the instrument of surrender.

As for a commitment to keeping the peace, we made great strides in RIMPAC 2016 supporting the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, because we helped advance and strengthen a team of international partners “committed to supporting international law and ensuring a stable maritime domain,” as stated in Adm. Scott Swift’s Commander’s Guidance to [Pacific] Fleet.

Let’s remember that, in the name of freedom, World War II veterans and their families sacrificed so much for us. Maintaining peace, prosperity, and stability is the greatest gift we can give the “Greatest Generation” veterans. We owe them and their legacy no less.

Pearl Harbor (Aug. 3, 2016) The battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) memorial and USS Arizona (BB 39) memorial welcome Rim of the Pacific 2016 ships as they return to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly L. Herline)

Pearl Harbor (Aug. 3, 2016) The battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) memorial and USS Arizona (BB 39) memorial welcome Rim of the Pacific 2016 ships as they return to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly L. Herline)

 

The “Mighty Mo”—Battleship Missouri Memorial— looks over the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Both were powerful images for RIMPAC 2016 participants in Hawaii this past summer. Both are silent reminders of our Navy’s resilience, toughness and resolve. Those memorials inspire images of World War II, but they also stand as beacons of hope—and proof—that former enemies can become friends and partners for peace.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/08/31/end-of-world-war-ii-began-era-of-peace/ U.S. Navy