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PACIFIC OCEAN - The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) entered 7th Fleet's area of responsibility (AOR), Oct. 13, in support of security and stability to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Benfold will enhance presence in the 7th Fleet as part of the U.S. Navy's long range plan to send the most advanced and capable units to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, while also adding to the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capable ships in the AOR.
BMD is one of the many missions the U.S. and Japan train for together. U.S. BMD-capable forces, combined with the sea-based missile defense systems operated by their counterparts in the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, provide the U.S.-Japan alliance a regionally responsive missile defense capability.
"We are proud to join the Forward Deployed Forces family in Japan," said Cmdr. Michele Day, Benfold's commanding officer. "After a demanding shipyard period and training cycle, our Sailors are anxious to have an opportunity to prove their abilities among some of the most capable ships in our Navy. We look forward to the waterfront camaraderie and sense of community in Yokosuka."
7th Fleet's AOR encompasses more than 48 million square miles (more than 124 million square kilometers) from the Kuril Islands in the north to the Antarctic in the south, and from the International Date Line to the 68th meridian east, which runs down from the India-Pakistan border. The area includes 36 maritime countries and the world's five largest foreign armed forces, People's Republic of China, Russia, India, North Korea and Republic of Korea. Five of the seven U.S. Mutual Defense Treaties are with countries in the area, Republic of the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Japan, and Thailand.