Australia, Japan, Korea, US are ‘Pacific Vanguards’

Maritime forces from Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United States transited in Philippine Sea in formation on May 24 as part of Exercise Pacific Vanguard (PACVAN).

US NAVY photo

“Pacific Vanguard joins forces from four, like-minded maritime nations that provide security throughout the Indo-Pacific based on shared values and common interests,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet. “This exercise advances the integration of our forces, and enables an effective collaborative response to a range of events that might occur in the region.”

PACVAN 2019 is the inaugural quadrilateral exercise between Australia, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United States.

“Focused on improving the capabilities of participating countries to respond together to crisis and contingencies in the region, PACAVN prepares the participating maritime forces to operate as an integrated, capable, and potent allied force ready to respond to a complex maritime environment in the Indo-Pacific region,” the US Navy said.

Royal Australian Navy frigates HMAS Melbourne (FFG 05) and HMAS Parramatta (FFH 154); Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyers JS Ariake (DD 109) and JS Asahi (DD 119); Republic of Korea Navy destroyer ROKS Wang Geon (DDH 978); US Navy USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), fleet replenishment oiler USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) and dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE 4) participated in PACVAN.

Aircraft from the “Scorpions” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ 132) and the “Mad Foxes” of Patrol Squadron (VP 5) also participated.