USS Lassen (DDG 82), right, conducts surfarce warfare operations with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's JS Kurama (DDH 144). (U.S. Navy/Lt. j.g. Lauren Chatmas)

EAST CHINA SEA - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) conducted bilateral operations with two Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyers in support of region surface warfare operations, Feb. 11 and 13.

Lassen executed helicopter cross-deck operations, surface warfare tactics, flag hoist drills, communication drills, and personnel exchanges with JS Hamagiri (DD155) and JS Kurama (DDH 144), respectively.

“We always look forward to bilateral integration with the Japanese because they have very capable ships and the professionalism of their crew is second to none,” said Cmdr. Michael A. Smith, commander officer of Lassen. “Allied partnership and collaboration of forces is essential to mission accomplishment in this region.”

The planned events enabled ships from both nations to work together and execute tactical exercises in partnership with allied countries.

Personnel from both ships were able to experience the operations of the allied ship. From lunch in the wardroom to spending time on the bridge, Lassen crew members were able to understand how their counterparts act towards a common mission.

“The hospitality of Kurama’s crew was exceptionally generous," said Ensign Barry Feinstein. "The ship’s upkeep was immaculate, and their ship handling skills were flawless.”

Lassen, one of seven destroyers assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15, is on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

An MH-60R Seahawk from the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 lifts off from JS Kurama (DDH 144). (U.S. Navy/Naval Aircremen Tactical Helicopter 2nd Class Antoni Pettee)