By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Alonzo Archer, John S. McCain Public Affairs
WATERS EAST OF OKINAWA – Senior leaders from the U.S. and Indian Navies, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), met aboard the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) July 29 during Malabar 2014.
Malabar 2014 is a U.S. Navy, Indian navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force trilateral naval field training exercise aimed to improve our collective maritime relationship and increase understanding in multinational operations.
Indian navy Rear Adm. Atul Kumar Jain, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Hidetoshi Iwasaki, commander, Escort Flotilla 2, Capt. Shan M. Byrne, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 and Cmdr. Chase Sargeant, commanding officer of John S. McCain came together to discuss the exercise.
“Today was the third in a series of senior commander meetings during Malabar, where we have had the opportunity to visit each other’s ships, see their capabilities, and coordinate for the exercise,” said Byrne. “We’ve built some close friendships between JMSDF and the Indian navy. Malabar is a long-standing exercise that has, and will continue to be a crucial contributor to the interoperability of the 7th fleet and its allies.”
In its 12th year, Malabar continues its mission to build relations and maritime strategy between the U.S. Navy and its partners in the Indo-Asia Pacific region, while contributing to the freedom of navigation, over-flight, and lawful commerce of the sea.
According to Sargeant , this year’s Malabar has been considered a great success with exercises such as helicopter cross-deck landings, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drills, replenishments at sea, submarine familiarization and a large scale photo operation all having been completed with nearly flawless precision.
“This ship’s participation in Malabar has been extremely rewarding, not only as a training exercise, but also as a cultural experience,” said Sargeant. “I’ve found that Sailors of the U.S. Navy, Indian navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force share the quality of perseverance. Malabar 2014 has been an overwhelming success, and we look forward to the opportunity to again work side by side with these two great naval nations.”