An MH-60S helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 lands aboard JS Bungo (MST 464) during MCMEX 2JA. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Alfred A. Coffield)

OMINATO, Japan - U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) mine countermeasures units completed Mine Countermeasures Exercise (MCMEX) 2JA 2016, July 28.

MCMEX is an annual bilateral exercise held between the U.S. and Japan to strengthen interoperability and increase proficiencies in mine countermeasures operations.

"We achieved a lot in terms of interoperability this 2JA," said Capt. Jim Miller, commodore, Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7. "From putting Japanese explosive ordnance personnel on our helicopters as part of helicopter casting to passing Q-route data, we were truly able to work hand in hand to detect and neutralize potential mines."

A range of U.S. units participated including mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7), Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 14, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, and staff from Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7.

The diverse set of mine countermeasures assets executed a broad range of mine neutralization activities. The participating units practiced unit-level mine countermeasures tactics to include sweeping, hunting, helicopter casting, and neutralization using remotely operated vehicles, sonar, and sweep gear.

EOD personnel conducted dive operations from JMSDF ships, U.S. ships and MH-60S helicopters in support of mine countermeasures efforts.

The exercise culminated in a combined phase during which U.S. and JMSDF personnel coordinated and communicated to clear a route for ships through a simulated minefield in one of the designated exercise areas.