By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Abby Rader, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Sailors aboard Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) arrived at Fleet Activities Yokosuka for a scheduled port visit Feb. 28-March 3.
Lake Erie is currently supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the Indo-Asia Pacific region to establish and enhance cooperation, mutual training and interoperability with regional partner nations and allies.
Capt. John Banigan, Lake Erie’s commanding officer, expressed how valuable the chance was to visit Japan and operate in the surrounding waters.
“To be able to come here, gain experience out West, and show our strengths in each mission area is very important and exciting to us,” said Banigan. “The crew is excited to be here and have the chance to work with our partners out here in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.”
This marked the first port visit of Erie’s current deployment to the Western Pacific. During their time in port, the ship took on supplies to prepare for the rest of her upcoming patrol.
Many Lake Erie Sailors were enthusiastic to have the opportunity to visit Japan for the first time.
“I’m really excited to go out and experience some of the culture here,” said Ship’s Serviceman Seaman Apprentice Kyle Grant. “It’s my first time in Japan, and I can’t wait to see what this country has to offer.”
Banigan also noted his personal appreciation for the chance to visit Yokosuka.
“To see the junior officers and watchstander’s eyes widen as we entered Yokosuka has been amazing,” said Banigan. “Just the one trip out here is worth the whole event.”
Lake Erie is homeported in Pearl Harbor and is currently on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.