U.S. Navy’s Avenger class mine, the USS Pioneer, a countermeasure vessel — set sail for Ishigaki, Okinawa in Japan, on 8 September. This was after a port call during routine operations and training.
USS Pioneer was reportedly laid down by Peterson Builders Inc. on 5 June 1989. The construction and fitting of the vessel progressed per the schedule on 14 Aug 1990, and she started her commissioned service on 1 September 1992 after the initial crew training was done. It was commissioned formally on 7 December 1992 as a tribute to several U.S. service personnel who served at Pearl Harbour during the Second World War.
The USS Pioneer’s visit to Japan reflects the US-Japan alliance and further represents the U.S. Navy’s commitment to the improved security presence in the Pacific.
Lt Commander Chase Harding, commanding officer of the USS Pioneer, said that it had been a long phase since one U.S. Navy vessel was in the port at Ishigaki and that they were thrilled that the warship received an opportunity to pay a visit and get engaged with the local community. He added that although they are based in Sasebo, it is excellent to look for opportunities to continue engaging with Japan.
In Ishigaki, the pioneer sailors performed a beach clean-up as part of a community relations event. They further interacted with members of Japan’s Coast Guard, the Yaeyama police department, other municipal leadership, relevant representatives from the local administration, and businesses.
The USS Pioneer assigned to the Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7 (the MCMRON 7), Task Force 76/3, and the Expeditionary Strike Group 7 were forward deployed to Japan’s Sasebo in the U.S. Seventh fleet zone.
Its primary responsibility is to execute mine countermeasure ops to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The seventh fleet of the U.S. Navy is the largest forward-deployed number fleet. It interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The visit views strong US-Japan relations, particularly in maritime security and defence zones. The USS Pioneer will showcase the strength of the U.S. Navy’s power and get to engage with a local community. The ship measures 224 ft in length, the beam is about 39 ft, and measures 13 ft in draft.
The vessel has four Isotta Fraschini austenitic steel, non-magnetic diesel engines, two controllable or reversible pitch propellers, two rudders, and two light-road electric motors. It boasts an AN/SLQ 48 Mine Neutralization mechanism, AN/SLQ-37 V 3 magnetic or acoustic influence Minesweeping gear — the Oropesa size 1 Mechanical sweep equipment (type 0), and AN/SSN2 navigation system. It is equipped with AN/SPS 55 surface radar.
The visit will focus on the Indo-Pacific region for maintaining free movements, trade, and movement of commercial vessels against the dragon’s bullying in the South China Sea.
References: Stars Stripes, Republic World
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