Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ignacio D. Perez

PACIFIC OCEAN – USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and JDS Kashima (TV-3508), from the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF), conducted a replenishment-at-sea with the USNS Yukon (T-AO-202), June 17.

Command Task Force 33 (CTF-33) coordinated Stennis’ and Kashima’s simultaneous replenishment-at-sea. Along with Kashima, two other Japanese vessels, JDS Shimayuki (TV-3513) and JDS Yamagiri (DD-152), were in formation after leaving San Diego earlier this week for Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) 2016 planning.

“[Replenishment-at-sea] starts with a longer range plan where we take into account how much fuel we are going to need for our aircraft and when we are going to need it,” said Cmdr. Carl Whorton, Stennis’ strike officer, from Covington, Wash. “It happened to be a coincidence that the Japanese vessels had to refuel with the Yukon at the same time.”

Operations like this, where the U.S. Navy coordinates with other nations, fit into a larger overall naval picture, helping the U.S. strengthen ties with its allies.

“Our abilities to operate alongside each other comes from the confidence developed during encounters like we had today,” said Capt. Mike Wettlauffer, Stennis’ commanding officer. “The more you work together, the more shared understanding you have.”

Stennis is scheduled to participate in RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime training exercise, in summer 2016.

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