A crane lowers the brow to USS Key West (SSN 722) after arriving at Fleet Activities Yokosuka. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian G. Reynolds)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Key West (SSN 722) arrived at Fleet Activities Yokosuka for a routine visit as part of its deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, July 12.

This visit strengthens the already positive alliance between the U.S. and Japan through the crew's interaction with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). It also demonstrates the U.S. Navy's commitment to regional stability and maritime security in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

"My crew is thrilled to have the opportunity to visit Japan and interact with our fellow submarine shipmates of the JMSDF," said Cmdr. David Coe, Key West commanding officer. "We are particularly looking forward to conducting a bilateral exercise in the near future to further improve interoperability and teamwork between our submarine forces. Because Key West is homeported in Guam ... my crew takes great pride in that we live and work in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations all the time. I hope this visit with our partners in Japan reinforces that we are never far away and always mission ready."

With a dynamic underway schedule, the in port period allows Key West Sailors an opportunity to reset before another underway.

"This is a well-trained and proficient crew that has executed a very busy schedule so far this year," said Master Chief Electronics Technician Eric Baker, chief of the boat. "Our presence as a forward-deployed submarine is vital to the area and we are once again ready to show how important liberty is as a mission area in this excellent port. The crew will, as always, show their Key West pride and enjoy some well-earned time off to take in the culture and sites of Japan.

Many crew members are excited about experiencing the rich Japanese culture.

"I'm a big fan of the Japanese culture and have been looking forward to this port call for some time," said Electronic Technician 2nd Class Richard Perry. "I can't wait to go to Tokyo and eat. I may even try climbing Mt. Fuji. It's going to be a great time."

Measuring more than 360 feet long and displacing approximately 6,900 tons when submerged, Key West remains one of the stealthiest and most formidable submarines in the world. This submarine is able to conduct anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance.