SASEBO, Japan –- The forward-deployed Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), departed Jan. 15, for its spring deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
Germantown will take part in an amphibious integration training (AIT) and certification exercise (CERTEX), participate in the annual multinational combined joint training exercise Cobra Gold, and conduct various other exercises.
“Training is extremely important for us, not just as a Navy but in our case specifically as an ARG. These types of training exercises allow us to come together, at times with our allies, with the Marine Corps to practice, improve, and evaluate our capabilities,” said Lt. Brad Tonder, operations officer onboard Germantown.
AIT and CERTEX are training exercises focusing on the ARG and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) amphibious assault capabilities, humanitarian assistance capabilities, disaster relief operations, and non-combatant evacuation missions.
Cobra Gold is an annual U.S and Kingdom of Thailand sponsored joint, multinational exercise intended to demonstrate the ability to rapidly deploy a joint task force to conduct combined operations at sea and ashore.
“Joint, multinational operations are a reality of our time. We have strong ties with our allies but in order to be effective while working together, we must be able to practice in order to understand each other. Cobra Gold allows us such an opportunity,” said Ensign Jessica H. Choi, Germantown’s electrical officer.
Germantown is the second of three ships from the ARG to get underway. USS Tortuga (LSD 46) departed yesterday and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) will depart at a later date to meet up with Germantown and Tortuga.
Bonhomme Richard ARG reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.