A total of seven Japanese ships of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force pulled into the port of Apra Harbor, U.S. Naval Base Guam, on Friday to conduct an exercise simply called Guam Exercise.
The JMSDF ships include six destroyers and a destroyer command ship with helicopter landing pad. Although the U.S. is not participating in this exercise, despite having participated back in July 2014, the port at Apra Harbor was a suitable mooring port.
These ships include the destroyers: Kirisame (DD-104), JS Inazuma (DD-105), Samidare (DD-106), Shimakaze (DD-172), Chokai (DDG-176) and Suzutsuki (DD-117); and command ship: JS Ise (DDH-182).
The seven ships, part of the Japan Maritime Defense Force, will operate off the coast of Guam for the next couple of days likely practicing naval gunnery, anti-submarine warfare, tactical maneuvering, adaptability in a maritime environment, communication drills and personnel exchanges. While not practicing interoperability with other U.S. ships this time, the use of Apra Harbor sends a clear message of the port’s capacity, capability and readiness to support naval warfighting vessels.
“The port at Apra Harbor has been the focus of a great deal of revitalization over the past five years or so,” said Dan Quicho, director of Port Operations at NBG. “We currently have the largest wharf (Victor Wharf) in the Pacific, ready to moor an entire expeditionary strike group, and adjacent wharves have been refurbished with state of the art utilities for visiting ships. We are excited to be able to host these Japanese ships, and it only shows how capable of a naval base we are here in Guam. We will surge our capacity and capability once again in March of this year for a joint exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force called ‘Multi-Sail 2016.’”