US Navy PHIBRON 11 Conducts Bilateral Amphibious Operations with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force JS Shimokita
US Navy PHIBRON 11 Conducts Bilateral Amphibious Operations with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force JS Shimokita

US Navy PHIBRON 11 Conducts Bilateral Amphibious Operations with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force JS Shimokita

The forward-deployed ships of U.S. Navy Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 conducted bilateral amphibious operations with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) tank landing ship JS Shimokita (LST 4002) in the Philippine Sea, June 12-13. USS America (LHA 6), USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) comprise the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious ready group (ARG), which operates with allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific.

USS America (LHA 6), lead ship of the amphibious ready group , conducted cross-deck aircraft operations with Shimokita, June 12, followed by coordinated divisional tactics, or DIVTACs, June 13. Landing craft, air cushion (LCAC) from New Orleans embarked Shimokita’s well deck on Saturday in a demonstration of shared capability and interoperability. New Orleans also conducted landing craft, utility operations.

The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), left, sails alongside the amphibious transport dock USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and a landing craft from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jomark A. Almazan)

“What a great opportunity this was to operate with our most trusted partner in this region yet again,” said Capt. Ken Ward, America’s commanding officer. “As always, the precision and professionalism of Shimokita’s captain and crew ensured a safe and rewarding exchange of aircraft and ARG landing craft, as well as a smoothly executed seamanship evolution involving all four of our ships. This is another testament to our steadfast commitment to regional stability.”

“Operating with the Shimokita and Japanese LCACs was the perfect way to start this patrol,” said Cmdr. Cullen Greenfield, Germantown’s commanding officer. “Regular exercises and demonstrations of our interoperability provide valuable training and clear evidence of our commitment to our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific. It was an absolute pleasure working alongside our host nation partners who operate with the highest degree of professionalism at sea.”

The America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) sail in formation with two Japan Maritime Self Defense Force landing craft and the tank landing ship JDS Shimokita (LST 4002). Ships from left to right: USS Germantown (LSD 42), Shimokita, USS America (LHA 6), USS New Orleans (LPD 18). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jomark A. Almazan)

Meanwhile, Germantown reciprocated the training opportunity, embarking Shimokita’s LCACs in its own well deck. The three America ARG ships, along with Shimokita and its LCACs, maneuvered in formation on Sunday demonstrating integrated maritime coordination and communication. Together, the forward-deployed ships of PHIBRON 11 and elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit are operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners.

PHIBRON is a United States Navy abbreviation for Amphibious Squadron. Amphibious Squadron usually consists of three amphibious ships, typically one LHD, an LSD and an LPD. When the ships of a PHIBRON are loaded up with the forces of a Marine Expeditionary Unit and some additional Navy units (including a Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) detachment and landing craft from two or more Assault Craft Units or ACU), it is designated as an Amphibious ready group (ARG).

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force tank landing ship JDS Shimokita (LST 4002) prepares to recover two landing craft, air cushion after bilateral operations with the America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jomark A. Almazan)