U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sailors collaborate aboard USS Decatur (DDG 73), Aug. 25. (U.S. Navy/LTJG Daphne White)

PHILIPPINE SEA - Guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Spruance (DDG 111) conducted bilateral training exercises in the Philippine Sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMDSF), Aug. 22-26.

The Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness Effectiveness Measuring (SHAREM) program is a series of events focused on anti-submarine warfare procedures and tactics designed to measure how effectively surface ships and aircraft can detect and track submarines. It also served as a joint exercise with JMSDF naval assets, with both countries embarking liaison officers from the other to maximize communication and understanding throughout the evolution.

"SHAREM was an exceptional opportunity to improve our anti-submarine warfare skills and work alongside our Japanese allies," said Lt. j.g. Sean Quirk, anti-submarine warfare officer, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31. "These unique exercises improve our bilateral capabilities, making us a stronger combined force to deter any adversary."

Decatur and Spruance were joined by the Japanese Akizuki-class destroyer JS Teruzuki (DDG 116), an Oyashio-class diesel-electric submarine and a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine. In the initial days of the event, the ships took advantage of their close proximity and ran maneuvering drills and visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) exercises.

"The relationship with JMSDF is a crucial aspect of our overall partnership with the Japanese," said Capt. Charles Johnson, commander, CDS 31. "I believe that by conducting the SHAREM and other exercises together, and analyzing the effectiveness of our tactics it will further improve our interoperability."

Decatur and Spruance, along with USS Momsen (DDG 92) and the embarked "Devil Fish" and "Warbirds" detachments of Helicopter Strike Squadron (HSM) 49 are part of the 3rd Fleet Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG), led by CDS 31 and operating under Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, as demonstrating the "3rd Fleet Forward" concept.

Since departing on deployment in April, the 3rd Fleet PAC SAG executed various naval activities and routine missions in the Western Pacific, including Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) as well as joint exercises with the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps and bilateral exercises with several countries, including the Republic of Korea, Australia and Japan, which helped strengthen international maritime relations.

The U.S. Navy maintains a presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to help preserve peace and security and to further partnerships with friends and allies. The 3rd Fleet PAC SAG initiative leverages the technological and tactical assets of the three modern destroyers, allowing for a quick response to virtually any situation in the region.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy. 3rd Fleet works constantly with U.S. 7th Fleet. The forces of both fleets complement one another across the spectrum of military operations in the Pacific.