USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and JS Teruzuki (DD 116) sail together in the Andaman Sea, April 2. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brenton Poyser)

ANDAMAN SEA - The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Akizuki-class destroyer JS Teruzuki (DD 116) conducted operations together, while sailing through the Andaman Sea, April 2.

While transiting, Gabrielle Giffords and Teruzuki conducted bilateral communications exercises, division tactics, and photo exercise, all designed to enhance interoperability between the two navies and emphasize the importance of communications and coordination while operating underway together.

“When the U.S. Navy and JMSDF ships meet at sea and are able to quickly develop plans and operate together, it reflects the strong friendship and maritime professionalism that our nations share,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7. “Exercises like these strengthen our mutual commitment to the security, stability and prosperity of this vital region, as we work together to protect a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Coming together with partners and allies at sea allows the U.S. Navy to operate closely with other navies and in ways shore exercises do not allow. It further provides the crews with real-life situations to practice their everyday watchstanding and communication skills with foreign vessels.

Teruzuki is currently underway in the Indo-Pacific in support of regional security and stability. During this time, she also supports training for officer trainees.

“It was a really good opportunity for us and officer trainees to conduct cooperative deployment with USS Gabrielle Giffords,” said Captain Kadota Masafumi, commander, Escort Division (CCD) 11, JMSDF. “We could show them strong Japan-U.S. ties and mutual relationship through this exercise.”

On her maiden rotational deployment to the Indo-Pacific, this exercise marks the first time Gabrielle Giffords has operated with JMSDF.

“Joining our JMSDF friends at sea allowed the Gabrielle Giffords crew to operate and sail side-by-side with a skilled ship from a very professional and capable naval force,” said Cmdr. Dustin T. Lonero, commanding officer, Gabrielle Giffords blue crew. “Both of our ships executed flawless maneuvering while sailing in near proximity, showing that our naval partnerships can work professionally anywhere.”

Attached to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, Gabrielle Giffords is on her rotational deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Pacific area of operations. 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.

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) sails past JS Teruzuki (DD 116). (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brenton Poyser)