Sailors aboard USS Patriot (MCM 7) navigate the ship toward Hakodate, Japan, for a port visit. (U.S. Navy/LCDR Joseph Hamilton)

HAKODATE, Japan - The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Hakodate, Japan, July 14 for a port visit before the crew makes its way to the annual Mine Countermeasures Exercise (MCMEX) 2JA.

The Patriot crew will share the Hakodate port visit with their Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force counterparts in a community service event. Sailors from both nations are teaming up to volunteer at a local children’s home.

The Patriot crew will also lay a wreath at the Japanese-maintained Hakodate Foreign General Cemetery where two Sailors from USS Vandalia are buried. Vandalia was part of Commodore Matthew C. Perry's U.S. Navy squadron, which was surveying the future treaty port of Hakodate.

“This is a great chance to build on our relationship before we really roll up our sleeves at 2JA,” said Cmdr. Emily Royse, Patriot’s commanding officer. “This port visit is wonderful opportunity for us to learn more about each other on a personal level before we get into business for this exercise. We’re happy that we get to share this experience and make a difference in this community together.”

Patriot, part of the Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7 (MCMRON 7) and Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, is en route to MCMEX 2JA. MCMEX 2JA is a bilateral mine warfare exercise aimed at increasing interoperability, proficiency, and partnership between U.S. and Japan mine warfare forces.

Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, is the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa.