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NEWS | June 13, 2016

Mobile Bay: Hand-in-Hand with JGSDF

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan Batchelder

SASEBO, Japan – Sixteen Sailors from the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) participated in a military-to-military engagement during Malabar 2016 with members of the 5th Sergeant Training Battalion, Japanese Ground Defense Force (JGSDF), at Camp Ainoura, June 10.

Mobile Bay is currently in Sasebo to take part in Malabar 2016, a trilateral maritime exercise designed to enhance dynamic cooperation between the Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and U.S. Navy.

Both sides took turns calling out their respective country’s cadences during a joint run that was followed by a push-up competition at one of the base’s training fields.

“We were very honored to hold this event for [Mobile Bay],” said 1st Lt. George Kuboya, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. “It’s a very good opportunity to strengthen the friendship and alliance between Japan and the U.S.”

The partnership between the Japanese and the U.S. has played a vital role in the Indo- Asia-Pacific region.

“The enthusiasm for the run and push-up competition was outstanding,” said Chief Gunner’s Mate Kenneth Matthews, from Port Washington, Wisconsin. “We showed up and were immediately welcomed with open arms, just like family. It’s great to have allies like this, and it was really interesting to hear how similar their cadences are compared to ours.”

In addition to the run and push-up competition, the crew members from Mobile Bay also got a chance to help teach the JGSDF English. The members of the 5th Sergeant Training Battalion are also participants in the Japanese basic enlisted English course.

“Because of the naval base here, Sasebo is the best place to study English for a student,” said Sgt. Maj. Nara Shinichiro, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. “The communication relationship program we have with the U.S is an opportunity that we look very forward to. We’re very thankful to have [Mobile Bay] here with us.”

A social event between both sides brought an end to the friendly competition, with each nation coming away from the event feeling fortunate to take part.

“We operate with the Japanese a lot in this part of the world,” said Matthews. “When we actually get to meet the sailors and Marines that we interact with, it makes everything more personal. The professionalism from both nations makes this alliance work well, and Malabar is a fantastic time to showcase it.”

Providing a ready force supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Mobile Bay is operating as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Great Green Fleet on a regularly scheduled 7th Fleet deployment.

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