HACHINOHE NAVAL BASE, Japan (Dec. 13,2011) Members of Patrol Squadron (VP) 1 and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force pose for a group photo at the conclusion of a bilateral training exercise here. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Darrius Wharton)

HACHINOHE NAVAL BASE, Japan - The Patrol Squadron One (VP-1), Screaming Eagles, conducted bilateral training with their counterparts from a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) P-3 squadron, Dec. 13, 2011.

VP-1 pilots and crew members shared a day of training with JMSDF's VP-2 on board this northern-Japan naval installation, culminating in an anti-submarine training exercise over the Pacific Ocean. This is the first time in more than five years that VP-1 has been able to conduct training with their Japanese counterparts.

"Bilateral exercises like this increase our interoperability by working on our communication levels together," said Lt. Joseph Liles, VP-1 tactical coordinator and mission commander. "It pulls together our tactics and allows for higher quality coordination between the U.S. and Japan."

The day's training concluded with two VP-1 aircraft accompanying two aircraft from VP-2 as they operated in tandem.

"We conducted crew swaps between our two squadrons, and then carried out some anti-submarine training," said VP-1 Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Gregory A. Sleppy.

The crew swaps allowed U.S. and Japanese crew members the opportunity to fly in the other country's aircraft during the anti-submarine exercise.

Sleppy said this training opportunity, along with others like it, will help the two squadrons develop closer ties and continue to strengthen the two country's already strong relationship.

"We worked well together," said Sleppy. "These exercises help us to set up standardized procedures between our two navies, which also will help lessen the impact of the language barrier.

"We have a lot of fun working with our Japanese counterparts, as well as when we have opportunities to interact socially. We try to finish every exercise with some sort of interaction between the crews," he added. "We're going to continue that throughout our deployment here."