By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Everett Allen
WATERS EAST OF OKINAWA (July 30, 2014) – Guests from Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), the Indian navy, Japanese Ministry of Defense and staff embarked the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington July 30.
Itsunori Onodera, Japanese minister of defense; Rear Adm. Atul Kumar Jain, Eastern Fleet flag officer, and Rear Adm. Terry Kraft, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan, were among the 30 embarked distinguished visitors as part of Malabar 2014, a U.S. Navy, Indian navy, and JMSDF trilateral naval field training exercise, aimed at improving collective maritime relationships and increasing understanding in multinational operations.
“It’s fantastic to be out here on USS George Washington escorting the Minister of Defense to take a look at this trilateral exercise,” said Rear Adm. Terry Kraft. “These exercises are so important because we all share responsibility for freedom of navigation and freedom of the seas.”
The visit also highlighted the need for more interoperability to enhance the security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region.
“To maintain security in Eastern Asia, it is important for us to have close cooperation between our three countries,” said Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of maritime staff, JMSDF.
During the visit, guests met with Battle Force 7th Fleet Commander Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, George Washington Commanding Officer Capt. Greg Fenton and George Washington Executive Officer Carlos Sardiello, who welcomed guests in the ship’s in-port cabin.
“Visits like this strengthen our maritime interoperability and also give distinguished visitors a first-hand experience of the daily operations aboard an aircraft carrier,” said Fenton.
The visit also included a tour of the carrier’s flight deck, where guests observed aircraft launches and recoveries.
“I want to thank the crew of the USS George Washington for hosting us today,” said Kraft. “They’ve rolled out the red carpet and they’re very proud of what they do, as they should be.”