PACIFIC OCEAN (Dec 2, 2010) - Following a highly successful exercise with the Republic of Korea Navy in the waters west of the Korean Peninsula, USS George Washington (CVN 73) traveled more than three hundred miles back to the Pacific Ocean in preparation for the Japanese led exercise Keen Sword 2010 which begins Dec. 3.

Along the way, the aircraft carrier welcomed aboard more than 20 members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

Keen Sword is the tenth joint-bilateral field training exercise since 1986 involving Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and the United States military. The timing of this exercise also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the signing of the US-Japan Cooperation and Security Treaty.

“Keen Sword 2010 is designed to allow the US and Japan to practice and evaluate our coordination procedures so that we can effectively respond to the defense of Japan,” said Captain David Lausman, commanding officer of USS George Washington. “Our alliance with Japan has lasted a half century and we are committed to ensuring this friendship continues and remains effective in meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century.”

The exercise runs from Dec. 3-10 and involves units from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, working side-by-side with their JSDF counterparts at military bases throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa and in the waters surrounding Japan. Because of the exercise’s size and scope, officials from the U.S. and Japan have been working together for months making preparations.

“Planning for this exercise actually began more than a year ago,” said Rear Adm. Dan Cloyd, Commander Task Force 70. “As the largest bilateral naval exercise in the world, our ability to collectively execute operations of this complexity and scope is made possible by the already excellent relationships between the U.S. Navy and JMSDF. Over the next several days we’ll further strengthen our ability to operate together and strengthen our mutual goals of security and stability in the region and in the defense of Japan.”

Large in scale, Keen Sword will involve more than 10,500 personnel from the U.S. alone. Training events during Keen Sword 2010 will include integrated air and missile defense, base security and force protection, search and rescue (SAR), close air support (CAS), live-fire training and maritime security and interdiction operations.

“We’ve been looking forward to this exercise and the opportunity to serve alongside our Kaijo Jietai allies for quite some time. Keen Sword promises to be an outstanding training event,” said Cloyd.