Saturday, December 17, 2011

VP-1 Conducts Bilateral Training with Japanese Counterparts

By Seaman Mass Communication Specialist Darrius Wharton

HACHINOHE NAVAL BASE, Japan (NNS) -- Patrol Squadron (VP) 1 conducted bilateral training Dec. 13, with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) P-3 squadron, VP-2.

Training took place on board Hachinohe Naval Base and also over the Pacific Ocean during an anti-submarine exercise.

This is the first time in more than five years that VP-1 has been able to conduct training with their Japanese counterparts.

"Bilateral exercises like this increase our interoperability by working on our communication levels together," said Lt. Joseph Liles, VP-1 tactical coordinator and mission commander. "It pulls together our tactics and allows for higher quality coordination between the U.S. and Japan."

The day's training concluded with two VP-1 aircraft accompanying two aircraft from VP-2 as the operated in tandem.

"We conducted crew swaps between our two squadrons, and then carried out some anti-submarine warfare mission sets," said VP-1 Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Gregory A. Sleppy.

The crew swaps allowed U.S. and Japanese crew members the opportunity to fly in the other country's aircraft during the anti-submarine exercise.

Sleppy said this training opportunity, along with others like it, will help the two squadrons develop closer ties and continue to strengthen the two country's already strong relationship.

"We worked well together," said Sleppy. "These exercises help us to set up standardized procedures between our two navies, which also will help lessen the impact of the language barrier.

"We have a lot of fun working with our Japanese counterparts, as well as when we have opportunities to interact socially. We try to finish every exercise with some sort of interaction between the crews," he added. "We're going to continue that throughout our deployment here."