The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) and staff from the Seventeenth Coast Guard District greeted Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) officials embarked aboard Japanese Ships (JS) Kashima and Hatakaze in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, June 5.
While moored at the Unalaska Marine Center, the crews participated in ship tours, a luncheon, and athletic events in Unalaska June 5-6. Rear Adm. Konno Yasushige, commander, Japan Training Squadron, hosted officials from the Qawalangin Tribe, City of Unalaska, and Bertholf for a luncheon aboard JS Kashima June 5. The ships offered tours for the crews and public afterward. In the evening, crewmembers played softball on the pier together and approximately 50 military members participated in an organized fun run up a portion of Mt. Ballyhoo. On June 6, the City of Unalaska hosted a welcome ceremony for the Coast Guard and JMSDF at Memorial Park.
Prior to mooring in Dutch Harbor, Bertholf steamed in formation with JS Kashima and JS Hatakaze approximately 138 miles west of Unalaska. Upon successful completion of maneuvers involving the three ships, JS Kashima and JS Hatakaze rendered honors to Bertholf. In naval tradition, Capt. Otani Miho, commanding officer of JS Kashima, and Cmdr. Ikezaki Hiroyuki, commanding officer of JS Hatakaze, directed crews to line the rails as each ship steamed past Capt. Timothy Brown, commanding officer of Bertholf, and his crew.
“The Coast Guard has a long-standing relationship of interoperability with Japan through operations like North Pacific Guard and training exercises like this one which have led to a continued free and open Pacific,” said Capt. Alan McCabe, chief of response, Seventeenth Coast Guard District. “Opportunities to engage strong partners like Japan in the high latitudes are a priority for the Seventeenth Coast Guard District. We see these engagements and exercises with JMSDF as valuable opportunities to demonstrate our unity and to strengthen rules-based order in the North Pacific.”
The U.S. Coast Guard has maintained a presence off the coast of Alaska since the territory was purchased from Russia in 1867 and continues to play a major role in protecting our Nation’s interests. Working in partnership with the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard works closely with joint and international partners to build capability and demonstrate resolve in the Arctic. The Coast Guard protects the Nation’s vital interests by upholding the rules-based order in the maritime domain while cooperating to reduce conflict and risk.
Bertholf is a 418-foot Legend-class national security cutter capable of extended worldwide deployment. National security cutters like Bertholf routinely deploy on multi-month patrols to support counter-narcotics operations, humanitarian missions, national security, domestic fisheries enforcement, and international efforts to counter illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing.