Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in the South China Sea for multinational exercises, Oct. 19.
Participants included John S. McCain, JS Kirisame (DD 104) of the JMSDF, and HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) of the RAN. These exercises marked the fifth time of 2020 that Australia, Japan, and the U.S. have conducted operations together in the 7th Fleet area of operations.
Throughout the naval exercises, participants trained together and conducted trilateral operations designed to increase the allies’ collective ability to maintain maritime security and respond to any regional contingency. Professional engagement and cooperation with allies and partners are the foundation of regional stability, fostering peace and prosperity for all nations.
HMAS Arunta’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Troy Duggan said Australia continued to build on its already close relationship with Japan and the United States.
“This activity is a valuable and important opportunity for all three nations,” said Duggan. “Operating with our partners is essential for building and maintaining high levels of interoperability, and contributes to our shared commitment to the security, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”
The trilateral operations included surface, subsurface, air defense exercises, and various other training events to strengthen regional maritime security operations.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity of the trilateral exercise with the United States Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. Especially about HMAS Arunta, I feel the connection. Because I had the chance to conduct the exercise with her when I coincidentally was the commanding officer of JS Kirisame in 2014.” said Capt. Yokota Kazushi, the commander, the escort division eight. “For the regional peace and stability, we are making efforts to maintain and develop a free and open Indo-Pacific. The iron bond with our partners is its foundation. Even though COVID-19 spreads, the JMSDF continues to strengthen the relationship with our ally partners.”
John S. McCain’s participation in this trilateral exercise comes on the heels of Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group’s return to the South China Sea, during which USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Antietam (CG 54), USS Halsey (DDG 97), and McCain conducted maritime security operations in support of free and open access to the international commons.
John S. McCain is underway conducting operations supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, while assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest forward-deployed DESRON and the U.S. 7th Fleet’s primary surface force.