By Religious Programs Specialist 3rd Class Curran Croft-Greenwell, USS Shiloh Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – The U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) J3 Director of Operations and Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) leaders toured the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), Jan. 25.
As part of the special engagement, Shiloh’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Adam Aycock, provided a unit brief to Col. Jeff Alexander, U.S. Air Force (USAF), Director of Operations for J3, and his team, regarding the multi-mission platform of the ship, as well as past and future operations.
“The Navy separates Air Defense from BMD. As a BMD ship, we are responsible for countering exo-atmospheric threats,” said Lt. Darnell Taylor, Shiloh’s Ballistic Missile Defense Officer. BMD addresses the threat of missiles which leave the atmosphere, and requires specialized technology available in the AEGIS system. “We host multi-national events like the BMD Syndicate to strengthen a common OPTASK [Operational Task] language with U.S. allies and joint forces.”
Shiloh hosted the delegation in order to emphasize the ship’s capability in the defense of Japan, giving senior leaders a better understanding of its operational footprint. Col. Alexander and his staff were shown a video and received a brief detailing the role of Navy BMD and the overall planning and support of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
“USS Shiloh‘s BMD capabilities provide our joint forces a critical presence in the region. Navy BMD is an independent variable that can be flexibly positioned to counter regional threats,” said Maj. Vivian McFeeters, USAF, a space operations officer and the BMD planner for USFJ. “My visit to Shiloh helps me better coordinate bilateral BMD integration across multiple U.S. and Japanese weapons systems.”
The visiting USFJ leaders also watched a training evolution in Shiloh’s Combat Information Center (CIC) to get a better understanding of the special skills and equipment needed to operate a BMD ship.