USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), left, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships JS Harusame (DD102), center, and JS Kurama (DDH144) sail in formation to conduct an air-defense exercise as part of Multi Sail.(U.S. Navy/MCSN Alana Langdon)

GUAM - Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15; Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72; and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) completed the annual bilateral training exercise Multi Sail 2016, March 11.

The six-day exercise consisted of torpedo and missile shoots, surface action group maneuvers, anti-submarine training, special operations force training and various other events that tested warfighting capabilities of each participant.

The Multi Sail 2016 participants included six U.S. surface units, including USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Curtis Wilber (DDG 54), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS McCampbell (DDG 85), four JMSDF ships, including JS Amagiri (DD 154), JS Harusame (DD 102), JS Kirishima (DDG 174), and JS Kurama (DDH 144), all from Commander, Escort Flotilla Two (CCF 2), the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Chicago (SSN 721), and other special units including the Camp Pendleton-based Marine Raiders.

This exercise was led by Capt. Christopher Sweeney, commander, DESRON 15, who was embarked on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) for the duration of the exercise.

“This week represents the heart of the U.S.-Japan relationship,” said Sweeney. “We were able to test our tactics and procedures to prepare our maritime units for any contingency. As we look forward, we know the U.S.-Japan relationship will continue to grow and improve with operations at sea if we continue to conduct exercises like Multi Sail. We are making the Indo-Asia-Pacific more secure with our alliances and a U.S. force posture that are being modernized to meet the current security challenges.”

During the six-day exercise, U.S. Navy and JMSDF worked hand-in-hand on multifaceted warfighting skills. All assets were tested with range-of-mission areas and successfully exercised finding, fixing, tracking, targeting and engaging units at sea, in the air, on land and underwater. Overall, Multi Sail 2016 enabled U.S. and Japanese assets to practice real-world proficiency in sustaining forces.

“Multi Sail 2016 honed our warfighting capabilities as forward deployed forces, but most importantly, the exercise demonstrated our ability to work with our allies in complex warfighting situations,” said Cmdr. Ed Sundberg, commanding officer of USS McCampbell (DDG 85). “Our Sailors also learned a lot as warfighters through their interactions with JMSDF counter-parts.”

The U.S. Navy conducts similar exercises with the JMSDF throughout the year. These realistic exercises continue to enhance interoperability skills and the ability to confront any situation in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

Lt. Thomas Brewer, right, chief engineer aboard USS McCampbell (DDG 85), and JMSDF Lt. Cmdr. Hironori Ikeda discuss tactical data from the combat information center while underway near Guam during Multi Sail. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Bryan Jackson)
Lt.j.g. Thomas Baker gives a tour of USS Benfold's (DDG 65) bridge to Lt. j.g. Yuki Ito, a JMSDF liaison officer, during Multi Sail 2016. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Deven Leigh Ellis)
Ships sits moored along the pier at Naval Base Guam, March 5, in preparation for Multi Sail. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Deven Leigh Ellis)