HAKODATE, Japan (Feb. 14, 2012) USS Patriot (MCM 7) Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Suzanne Schang and Command Master Chief Mike Kaszubowski receive a welcoming gift from community members as Patriot arrives in Hakodate for a goodwill port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow)

HAKODATE, Japan - Mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Hakodate, Japan, Feb. 14 for a port visit.

In port, Patriot Sailors will engage with members of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and tour the city of Hakodate, one of the four Japanese port cities visited by Commodore Matthew Perry and his famous "Black Fleet" in 1854.

"Hakodate provides a great opportunity for the Patriot team to interact with our JMSDF counterparts and learn first hand about this amazing port city rich with naval culture and history," said Lt. Cmdr. Suzanne Schang, commanding officer of Patriot. "This goodwill visit is a testament to the commitment and longstanding partnership between the U.S. Navy and the JMSDF."

Schang will meet with Commander, JMSDF Hakodate, Capt. Tetsuya Uchiyama, Mr. Toshiki Kudo, Mayor of Hakodate and local officials. As a token of appreciation for their visit to Hakodate, Patriot will host a reception onboard for distinguished guests.

Patriot's senior leadership will participate in a flower laying ceremony at the Hakodate Foreign Cemetery Feb. 15, honoring the gravesites of two U.S. Sailors from Commodore Matthew Perry's ship. They will also be taken into the city to visit the largest statue of Commodore Perry in Japan.

To gain a better understanding of life onboard Patriot, JMSDF Sailors will be given the chance to tour the ship. In return, Patriot Sailors will visit a JMSDF mine countermeasures ship.

Patriot and JMSDF Sailors are also scheduled to take part in sporting events during the port visit.

Since departing from Commander, Fleet Activities Sasebo Jan. 24, Patriot has visited the Japanese cities of Takamatsu, Hachinohe and Tomakomai.

As of 2012, Patriot has received five consecutive "Battle E" awards for battle effectiveness, an exemplary standard of recognition in the Navy.

Patriot is currently on a Mine Countermeasure Partnership Patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations and is one of four mine countermeasure ships forward deployed from Sasebo Japan.