PHILIPPINE SEA - Maritime forces from Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the United States met in the waters off the coast of Guam, to conduct cooperative maritime exercise Pacific Vanguard, Sept. 12.
Pacific Vanguard brings together more than 1,500 Sailors from four Indo-Pacific nations to sharpen skills and strengthen practical cooperation at sea. The exercise takes place off the coast of Guam.
"Participation in Pacific Vanguard provides realistic, relevant training that fosters each nation's abilities to plan, communicate and conduct complex maritime operations together, at sea," said Cmdr. Christopher A. Gahl, commanding officer, USS Barry. "The United States, along with allies and partners, is committed to preserving stability and freedom of access to the global commons."
During the exercise, forces will combine to practice a wide range of naval competencies, including combined maneuvers, surface warfare, live fire exercises, anti-submarine warfare, and replenishment at sea.
Representing the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force are destroyers JS Ashigara (DDG 178) and JS Ise (DDH 182).
“It is truly invaluable that the navies of four countries get together again in Guam to participate in Pacific Vanguard under the difficult time we all face with COVID-19,” said Vice Adm. Yuasa Hideki, Commander-in-Chief, Self Defense Fleet, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. “I strongly believe that our enhanced cooperation will certainly contribute to peace and stability in the Western Pacific as well as furthering our partnership."
Representing Australia are the Anzac-class frigates HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) and HMAS Stuart (FFH 153).
Commander of the Australian Maritime Task Group, Capt. Phillipa Hay, said Exercise Pacific Vanguard will enhance interoperability between key regional defense partners.
"Exercise Pacific Vanguard provides a significant opportunity to work with regional partners on complex warfighting skills within a task group," Capt. Hay said. "The exercise will strengthen an already strong alliance between the Australian, Japanese, South Korean and United States navies, increasing our ability to contribute to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific."
The Republic of Korea Navy sent destroyers ROKS Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin (DDH 975) and ROKS Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong (DDG 993).
"I look forward to seeing the enhancement of combined operational capabilities through Pacific Vanguard," said Capt. Kim Sung Hwan, Commodore, Maritime Task Squadron 71 of the Republic of Korea Navy. "It will serve as an opportunity to strengthen joint response capabilities for various security situations by building up the friendship and coordination system between participating nations."
Representing U.S. are Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52), a submarine, fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Erickson (T-AO 194) and aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 1.
U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility. As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.