SASEBO, NAGASAKI, JAPAN
Story by Lt.j.g. Alexander Fairbanks
USS PIONEER (MCM 9)
The Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Pioneer (MCM 9) sailed around Sasebo harbor for their Family and Friends Day cruise in Sasebo, Japan, November 1.
Family and friends of the Pioneer crew had the opportunity to experience what life underway is like for their sailors. A few Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force sailors from Hirashima-class Mine Countermeasures ship, Hirashima MSC 601, also joined the cruise to learn about Pioneer’s mine-hunting capabilities.
The Pioneer crew took in the mooring lines, hoisted up the flag and international call sign, commanded tugs and the engine, and set out to sea – as family and friends enjoyed the view of rolling green mountains surrounding the ocean and observed the hard work that their sailors commit to at sea.
“Pioneer had a wonderful time today with friends and family,” said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Wayland, commanding officer of Pioneer. “It was perfect weather to be on the water with family and our sailors were able to show their loved ones what they do at sea.”
The family, friends and crew all enjoyed burgers and hot dogs during the “Splinter Beach Picnic” on the fantail of the ship. Afterwards they were able to participate in many activities like spraying water out of a fire fighting hose, learning about medical casualty treatment on the mess decks, how the ship navigates on the bridge, how the ship detects and hunts mines in combat information center and even taking a ride in the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat, RHIB. The crew of Hirashima MSC 601 had the opportunity to train on how to approach a mine with a mine neutralization vehicle, using a mine-hunting simulator in combat information center.
“It was good to see all the people he works with and the things he does,” said Jessica Francis, girlfriend of Logistic Specialist second class, Justin Jarrell. “You have to go there to actually know what he does and I am really glad he brought me.”
Pioneer is part of Commander, Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7 and is forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan. They are operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of regional peace and stability.
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