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U.S. Naval Forces and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Conduct Joint Mine Warfare Exercise

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Caleb Strong/Released)


From Petty Officer 2nd Class Diego Camarillo


SASEBO, Japan – The U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), conducted Mine Warfare Exercise (MIWEX) 3JA 2022 off the coast of southeastern Japan, Nov. 10-20, 2022.

MIWEX 3JA is part of an annual series of exercises between the U.S. Navy and JMSDF designed to increase proficiency in mine countermeasure operations between the two forces.

“I am proud to be working with our Japanese partners to improve our interoperability and proficiency in mine countermeasure operations,” said Capt. Michael O’Neill, commodore of Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7 (MCMRON 7).

During the six-day exercise, participants worked together to clear a simulated minefield using unit-level mine warfare tactics to include mine hunting, detection, and neutralization.

JMSDF Mine Warfare Force and MCMRON 7 commanders worked together throughout the exercise to direct mine-hunting tasks for U.S. and JMSDF units.

“The keystone tenet to successfully respond to potential Indo-Pacific area of responsibility conflict is reinforcing military relations with Allies,” said Lt. Cmdr. Aaron A. Jochimsen, the commanding officer of the avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Pioneer (MCM 9). “Bilateral exercises, such as 3JA, allow the United States and Japan to hone skills that ensure our coordinated response to a potential mine threat will allow us to find and neutralize mines that keep the sea lines of communication open.”

This training allowed all the units to practice communicating and operating in a combined environment and maximize their cumulative mine hunting capability. This exercise increased their tactical and operating proficiency while strengthening bonds between U.S. and JMSDF mine countermeasure assets.

Eighteen ships from the JMSDF Mine Warfare Force participated, including a minesweeper tender, one minesweeper, and fourteen mine hunters, supported by one mine countermeasures helicopter and multiple embarked Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units.

U.S. forces included the staff from MCMRON 7, EOD Mobile Unit Mine Countermeasures Company 11-2, USS Patriot (MCM 7), USS Pioneer (MCM 9) and Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fourteen (HM 14), Detachment 2A. Approximately 300 U.S. personnel participated.

MCMRON 7 is forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, and consists of USS Patriot (MCM 7), USS Pioneer (MCM 9), USS Warrior (MCM 10), USS Chief (MCM 14), and HM-14 Detachment 2A.