By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Oct. 18, 2017) ― Three officers from Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) completed a training course onboard Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC), through which they learned about Navy ship repair and maintenance processes.
Lt. Toru Ikarashi and Lt. j.g. Misao Hashimoto, both attached to JMSDF Maritime Materiel Command (MMC), visited SRF-JRMC once weekly for four weeks. Lt. Hiroshi Tanabe, assigned to JMSDF Ship Supply Depot, joined them midway through the course.
“I was amazed at the fact that SRF has policies like the private sector, such as a yearly strategic plan,” Ikarashi said. “Finding the fact that SRF has a great ship repair capability was a new discovery to me.”
During the course’s various sessions, command representatives gave an overview of the primary ship repair operations, such as quality assurance, logistics, planning and estimating, combat systems upkeep and business contracts. On the last day, Hiroshi Aoki, SRF-JRMC head quality assurance engineer, and Hisato Kimata, production control division head, organized a shop tour so the officers could see the command’s work first-hand.
“This effort is very important to the U.S. Navy as well as JMSDF,” Aoki said, referring to the training. “By sharing and expanding knowledge about how ships are repaired and maintained under a different circumstance, I hope these officers could gain a little insight which they can draw upon in the future when they become more responsible engineering duty officers.”
According to Aoki, in the past, SRF-JRMC and JMSDF arranged six-month officer exchange programs, in which the organizations mutually exchanged trainees to share knowledge about ship repair. The current program, although shorter, retains the original purpose. It affords JMSDF members an opportunity to learn more about how the U.S. Navy maintains its ships.
SRF-JRMC regularly hosts JMSDF officers as trainees. In February and March of this year, the command provided a similar curriculum to six other JMSDF personnel.
“What I learned at SRF-JRMC is that they do repair work by replacing part by part,” Hashimoto said. “We do it by modules. In the future, JMSDF’s way of repairing ships may be changed like the way they do here.”
“Having served JMSDF for 15 years on guided weapon systems before I joined SRF, I can say that the two organizations share much similar technical terminology,” Aoki said. “More often than not, however, knowing only one language doesn’t work. I am proud of being able to help JMSDF officers understand our ship repair process both in English and Japanese. I hope their experience here will contribute to their ship repair capability.”