US military ship embarks JGSDF vehicles for first point-to-point expedition> Commander, US 7th Fleet> Display

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) – Embarkation for the very first point-to-point expedition of Japanese Land Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) vehicles aboard a US military vessel took place at Commander, US Fleet Activities Sasebo , July 27.

Boarding was both practical and a training opportunity to enhance interoperability between the U.S. military and the JGSDF.

“We always try to build on interoperability, which allows us to understand their capabilities and to test and train our own capabilities,” said Major Jacqueline Hearne, US Army Liaison Officer at Camp Kengun, Kumamoto .

Six vehicles from the 8th JGSDF Division, a mix of Type 87 armored reconnaissance vehicles and light armored vehicles, were moved from shore aboard the US Army’s Runnymede-class landing craft USAV Coamo (LCU-2014 ). Coamo will transport vehicles from Sasebo on Kyushu Island to Yokohama on Honshu Island. Kearns said it demonstrates the ability of the U.S. military to move forces long distances between islands.

The ability to move Japanese vehicles and other assets to respond to an emergency, such as the recent use of the United States Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft during earthquake relief in Kumamoto, was one of the main reasons boarding training was needed.

“Right now we are trying to help the Japanese develop their own maneuvering capabilities and allow them to move equipment from one region to another,” Kearns said. “Allowing our personal watercraft to do this helps show them how they might be able to expand their own maneuvering capabilities. ”

Currently, the JGSDF has no water transportation, but relies on its counterparts in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and the United States Army.

Once in Yokohama, the vehicles will join other JGSDF vehicles and be shipped by commercial vessel to the United States where they will participate in Rising Thunder, an annual bilateral training exercise between Japan and the United States at the Yakima Training Center, in Washington.

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