Essay | Japan Ministry of Defense


My Participation in RIMPAC 2006 by Akihiko Endo Trainee Staff, 2nd Commander 1st Body Guard Commander Group

Akihiko Endo
Trainee Staff, 2nd Commander
1st Body Guard Commander Group

"Ready to Start!" shouted our Captain and "Kirishima", our naval escort started launching from heavy-raining Yokosuka Harbor for joining with US Training Program '06 in mid-May.

My participation from our group is the second time after I did at RIMPAC'98 as Chief Gunnery at naval escort "Harusame" eight years ago. I remember of the first experience which was very impressive of the superb US instruction weapon and of my desperate engagement in shooting missiles and other operations. As the second time I had some confidence of my growth with some uncertainty for results in mind at starting trainings.

Our crew dropped in Hawaii with training on board and had further training on ground facilities at mainland Saint Diego returning again to Hawaii end of June. We started finally our main training RIMPAC, US training at Blue Hawaii.

By the way, do you know RINPAC? RIMPAC means the joint operation at the Pacific-Rim and counts for 20 times as of this time by making almost biennially around Hawaii offshore since 1971. Maritime Self Defense Force started to join the operation since 1980 and makes 14 times history.

The term is for about six months stating from end-June sending total member of about 1,200 on board of three naval escorts named 'Hiei', 'Ariake' and 'Samidare' , a submarine 'Kuroshio' and eight P-3C from Naval force after a sudden returning home of naval escort 'Kirishima'.

The troops joining this training cover Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Korea, UK and US are made of the big forces of 40 war vessels, six submarines, c. a. 160 air planes. In this operation, our naval force executed with US Navy, the various training of anti-submarine, anti-water and anti-air strategic training and shooting training of missiles. My duty in this training was to support Mr. Sansei Izumi, Commander of naval escort and Assistant Lieutenant General in cooperation with other staff.

Recently I had a chance to hear about the old stories of RIMPAC at the time of starting from our ex-member of the Maritime Forces. He is said to have had difficulties to manage the troops by lack of information about what US Navy was doing and because of the wide gap of facilities between Japanese vessels and US Navy's. Today the facilities of Maritime Forces is developed and comparable with those of US Navy, and we were able to absorb newest technologies and tactics of US Navy, according to my opinion. Especially at the contest of the accuracy of shooting naval gun, our vessel 'Hiei' had a victory among the all the vessels of each countries participated, and the tactical level of our Maritime Force was shown to the countries. I believe, as a staff of our force, that we could contribute to the mutual management power and to strengthen the partnership of our Maritime Force and US Navy in general.

Apart from the story, RIMPAC covers not only on-board training. We could have a valuable experience by exchanging courtesies through spots events and receptions and so on among the participating members. In particular, at reception on board at US Navy Vessel 'Lincoln' after completing training, friendship was fostered among the all the members,with a help by specialties of each countries' foods and hospitality.

Talking about the exchange of courtesies, we had the most impressive event among the members. Mr. Dan Kringshirm, First Lieutenant as a staff of DENSTRON 31of US Navy, joined on board at 'Hiei' to support our mutual training of Japan-US vessel training during this term on board.

Lieutenant in US Navy was regarded as equivalent to 2nd Lieutenant in Marine Self Defense Force as title and as junior staff with minor experience at first. However his knowledge on tactics was superb, and assisted our operations very well. Particularly his translation, opinion and his exact and quick answer to various questions at meetings was reflecting our position and was a big contribution to our decision making. His personality was also very honest and had a humor and was respected for his positive attitude to absorb Japanese culture speaking Japanese language including words 'hai', 'sohka' and 'maji?' and handling Japanese chopsticks. He made a very good ample of young staff for especially Marine Defense Force by good relation with crew and staff.
My frank impression was that US Navy has fostered such a wonderful staff and that I must grow-up further as a senior staff with a good pressure.

My first performance is that we could promote our mutual management capacity between US Navy and our Marine Force with vessel facilities, and furthermore that we could promote our mutual understanding and trust between the two parties for managing facilities. I believe our human relation will help to strengthen our ties and partnership between US and Japan. We hope Mr. Kringshirm will help us and we will also do our utmost to return his help.

Last but not least, I would like to express my sincere thanks for giving us such a valuable experience of joining in training program. (End)