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Sama Sama 2019 to begin with Participation of U.S., Philippines, and Japan

According to the press release of the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet, an opening ceremony was held for the “Sama Sama” Maritime Training Activity with the participation of the U.S. Navy, Philippine Navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, in Puerto Princesa on October 14.

Sama Sama 2019 to begin with Participation of U.S. Philippines and Japan 925 001 The Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3) sits pierside at Puerto Princesa Port after arriving for Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Sama Sama (Picture source: U.S. Navy)

Sama Sama is a maritime training exercise that is made to improve regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance maritime interoperability. The exercise is being conducted for the third time, but JMDSF attends drills for the first time.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, who oversees security cooperation for the U.S. Navy in Southeast Asia, said that Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama demonstrated an evolution toward multilateral training and networked security.

“We are strongest when we sail together,” said Tynch. “MTA Sama Sama gives us a great chance to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends, partners, and allies, the Philippine Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. We train together so that together we can face threats to maritime security.”

The exercise will consist of both “shore-based” and “at-sea activities” planned to allow participants to undertake complex maritime training utilizing diverse naval platforms and operating areas.

Shore phase events will include a series of subject matter expert exchanges on a range of naval capabilities, including maritime domain awareness, force protection, medical care, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, explosive ordnance disposal, dive and salvage operations, engineering, aviation, and visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) operations.

The at-sea phase will include VBSS drills, division tactics, a search and rescue exercise, helicopter deck landing qualifications, anti-air and surface warfare tracking, and vessel of interest tracking.