Fire Controlman 2nd Class Lauren Belt, foreground, and Fire Controlman 1st Class Edwin Falcis, both assigned to the guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), monitor their consoles during a Fleet Synthetic Trainer-Joint (FST-J) Ballistic Missile Defense exercise aboard the ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Fire Controlman 2nd Class Kristopher G. Horton)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, on an independent patrol to the Western Pacific Ocean, Jan. 24.

During its patrol, Shiloh will conduct training and flight deck operations to maintain operational readiness. Afloat Training Group (ATG) members will also be aboard to assess and instruct watch standers in damage control procedures and techniques.

"This underway is about continuing to build our proficiency," said Capt. Kurush Morris, Shilo's commanding officer. "We have ATG on board and are heading towards getting ready for our next 24-month cycle."

The ship is scheduled to make a port visit to a key regional partner, where members of the crew will participate in various community service projects.

"Port visits foster relations between the United States and our partners and allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Morris. "It also provides an opportunity for the crew to experience different cultures and get a breather from our hectic schedule."

Shilo is assigned to Task Force 70, which has operational control of all carrier strike groups and independently deployed cruisers, destroyers and frigates that deploy or transit through the 7th Fleet area of operations.