Thirty Japanese contractors serving under Ship Repair Facility (SRF) Detachment Sasebo were recognized May 25 for providing speedy maintenance and repairs to USS Juneau (LPD 10) and USS Tortuga (LSD 46) to get them underway in order to meet operational commitments.
The repair facility workers fixed Tortuga’s 20-ton boom and Juneau’s refrigeration system in a compressed time frame.
Deputy Commander, Amphibious Force, 7th Fleet, Capt. Brian T. Smith, presented each with a command coin and thanked them for their efforts.
“Once again, Ship Repair Facility Detachment Sasebo met the challenges of keeping our ships operationally ready,” said Smith. “You quickly restored these vital systems, which allowed these two ships to sail on time. Our lives depend on our ships and our ships depend on you.”
Standing by the motto, ‘nan demo deki masu,’ which means ‘we can do anything,’ Sasesbo’s Japanese repair contractors have had a long history of repairing crucial systems to get U.S. Navy ships out to sea. With the operational tempo of forward-deployed naval forces, workers are continually performing under compressed schedules and handling issues that may be unplanned.
The repairs for Tortuga and Juneau were planned and unplanned, respectively, both being very complex tasks that were finished in a much shorter amount of time than stateside ships would receive.
On Juneau, sea water had infiltrated the refrigeration system just weeks before the ship was supposed to deploy for Talisman Sabre
07. The usually 5-week job was finished in a two-week period, with workers putting in 12-hour days to make it happen.
“I am very satisfied that the ships were able to get underway and meet its requirements,” said Koichi Eguchi, the machinery foreman. “We understand that the U.S. Navy has to meet its mission, so we work very hard to help the ships achieve that.”
Cmdr. Steve F. Williamson, officer-in-charge of the Sasebo detachment, feels that the Japanese workers have an extremely high work ethic.
“They truly embody the motto ‘nan demo deki masu,’” said Williamson. “They are so motivated that I almost have to kick them out to end the work day.”
Both Williamson and Smith agree: this is one of the U.S. Navy’s finest ship repair facilities.
Ships of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, including Tortuga and Juneau, are on their way to participate in Talisman Sabre 07. Talisman Sabre is a United States and Australian led Joint Task Force operation preparing forces for crisis action planning and execution of contingency operations meant to improve interoperability and strengthen the military alliance between the countries.
Expeditionary Strike Group 7 / Task Force 76 is the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Adam R. Cole, Task Force 76 Public Affairs