SAKAIMINATO, Japan (March 5, 2012) Mineman Seaman Bryan Surber, assigned to USS Patriot (MCM 7), mine neutralization vehicle operations to local media during a ship tour following the ship's arrival for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow)

SAKAIMINATO, Japan - The mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Sakaiminato, Japan, March 5, for a goodwill port visit.

The last U.S. Navy ship to visit the coastal city was the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) in 2006.

In port, Patriot Sailors will engage with members of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) and tour the city of Sakaiminato, home of Shigeru Mizuki, one of Japan’s most celebrated cartoonists.

“The Patriot team is looking forward to its time here in Sakaiminato,” said Lt. Cmdr. Suzanne Schang, commanding officer of Patriot. “Having the chance to engage with the JASDF provides the opportunity to showcase what we do at sea and learn about the Japanese air capabilities. This visit provides the opportunity to enjoy new experiences and create lasting memories that will serve to strengthen relations with our partner nation.”

Schang spoke with media and will conduct courtesy calls with local officials. Patriot Sailors provided a guided tour of the ship for the media, offering them a first-hand look at Patriot’s inner workings.

Patriot Sailors will participate in an indoor volleyball match with members of the JASDF March 6. Prior to the match, the Sailors will receive a tour the JASDF air base. To gain a better understanding of life onboard Patriot, members of the JASDF will be given the chance to tour the ship.

Patriot has visited the Japanese cities of Takamatsu, Hachinohe, Tomakomai, Hakodate and Yokosuka since departing Fleet Activities Sasebo Jan. 23 for its patrol.

Commander, Naval Surface Forces announced Patriot as the recipient of its sixth consecutive “Battle E” award for battle effectiveness Feb. 28, an exemplary standard of recognition in the Navy. Patriot’s continued success serves as a prime example of surface warfare excellence in the Navy’s forward-deployed forces.

Patriot is currently on a mine countermeasures partnership patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations and is one of four mine countermeasure ships forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan.