USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) completed Transport Exercise (TRANSPORTEX) 2007 with the Japanese Ship (JS) Ohsumi (LST 4001) off the coast of Japan on March 7.
TRANSPORTEX was a training exercise designed to enhance the maritime transport proficiency
and interoperability of the U.S. Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) in support of humanitarian relief missions.
“In the past 15 years, amphibious forces have been the first responders in numerous humanitarian crises, disaster relief missions, noncombatant evacuation operations, troop withdrawals, and defense of strategic assets such as oil platforms and seaports,” said Harpers Ferry’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. David L. Bossert. “TRANSPORTEX allowed U.S. and JMSDF amphibious ships
and landing craft the opportunity to cross-train at sea, the starting point for any of the many missions these assets are capable of performing.”
Harpers Ferry Sailors, along with Sailors from Beach Master Unit
1, came together with Japanese Sailors from JS Ohsumi in a number of different ways to help foster relations between the U.S. Navy and the JMSDF. To start off TRANSPORTEX, the commanding officers and command master chiefs from Harpers Ferry and Ohsumi met to exchange plaques and gifts in the spirit of friendship. Members from both crews got a chance to visit each other's ships, as well as play volleyball and basketball together. There was even an exchange of Sailors to experience shipboard life on a foreign navy vessel.
The major evolution of TRANSPORTEX was the transferring of landing craft air cushioned (LCAC) vehicles from one ship to the other.
“It was cool to see the Japanese LCAC’s come into our ship without any communication problems,” said Deck Department 2nd Division Seaman Philip M. Rosado. “They came and went just as smoothly as ours.”
TRANSPORTEX is one of the few bilateral training exercises performed with the JMSDF, which adds to the importance of a smooth exercise.
“The success of TRANSPORTEX lies in validating the interoperability of our amphibious forces,” said Harpers Ferry Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Meyers. “The officers, crew, and craft masters from Ohsumi were consummate professionals, and it was a pleasure to observe the LCAC cross deck exercise. Following TRANSPORTEX, I have no doubt that JMSDF and U.S. amphibious craft will be able to cooperate seamlessly in any ship to shore movement.”
Harpers Ferry is part of the Navy’s forward-deployed amphibious force serving under Commander Task Force 76. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mark Alvarez, USS Harpers Ferry Public Affairs