Yesterday evening in Yokosuka, Japan, MDAA hosted a recognition of the U.S. 7th Fleet and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces’ Aegis BMD mission highlighting the ships and crews of the USS Shiloh (CG-67) and the JS Kirishima (DDG-174) that are deployed there.
Our first speaker, Vice Admiral Masao Kawamura, the Commander of Fleet Escort Force of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and force provider for the Japanese Surface Fleet led with courage, conviction and truth in a packed room of 100 plus sailors and naval officers, split evenly between the U.S. and Japanese navies.
His commanding demeanor articulated humility and reflection as he invoked the 70th Anniversary of the pinnacle of the fight between the United States and Japan that was memorialized by the raising of the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima by the U.S. Marines on February 23, 1945. Seventy years later, we bring both countries together in the strongest partnership, centered on the two navies’ joint ballistic missile defense system. The partnership, the trust, the friendship has been slowly cultivated over many years to become one of the strongest allied partnerships around the globe on sea based missile defense capabilities and systems.
This special Aegis BMD relationship enabled the Japanese to build a capability together with the United States to defend their own nation and people with their own ships and sailors. A remarkable feat on many levels, but most upon those that serve their respective nations in the military services that seventy years ago were the deadliest of enemies and today the strongest allies that celebrated and stood together in recognition of being on the same team contributing together to confront their common threat.
His words moved the room so much so that our next speaker, the Commander of U.S. Task Force 70 Carrier Strike Group RADM John Alexander was compelled to give due pause for reflection to internalize the significance of the relationship that was defined seventy years ago being transformed into the best global partnership in sea based ballistic missile defense, into true shipmates and battle buddies that fight together for each other.
Following the both Admirals’ remarks, the Commanding officer of the Aegis BMD ship JS Kirishima, Captain Tasuhiro Sato, and the Commanding Officer of the USS Shiloh, Captain Kurush Morris, brought both crews up to be recognized and to stand by their shipmates of their Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system and mission.
For all the need to increase partnership capacity with new capability, modernization, and inventory which both nations are challenged to do, it always comes down to the men and women that operate these systems to bring region stability and peace through deterrence and defense into reality.
For keeping peace and the status quo in one of the most volatile regions of the world, they are champions.
We treated them like the world champions that they are and honored the partnership that they have.
MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.
MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.