The U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Armed Forces of the Philippines joined allies to commence the seventh iteration of exercise Sama Sama in the city of Manila, Philippines, October Oct. 2nd.
Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Sama Sama includes a shore and sea phase that incorporate training in medicine, legal concepts, engineering, logistics and public affairs while diving and explosive ordnance disposal teams, naval vessels and maritime surveillance aircraft conduct exercises focused on anti-submarine (ASW), surface (ASuW) and air (AAW) warfare, and maritime domain awareness.
“In the Indo-Pacific, I truly believe the ties that make up the ‘fabric of peace’ are grounded in our maritime ties. These ties are woven like the sea lanes that interconnect our nations,” said Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. “Our maritime ties are strong, built on thousands of years of trade. Our strong maritime ties are built on the foundation that all nations are free and open to make their own decisions, a foundation anchored in the rules based international order that has served this region so well for so many years. ”
The multilateral training has evolved in complexity and sophistication as the Maritime Training Activity series continues. This year is the largest yet, with participants from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, United Kingdom, and United States.
“In Tagalog ‘Sama Sama’ is a phrase that means ‘together’ and there could not be a better phrase to capture the spirit of this exercise,” said Capt. Sean Lewis, commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7. “With so many shared values, a security partnership of 77 years, and a history of military collaboration, our alliance with the Philippines enables us to build truly robust training evolutions like this one. Together we can address a spectrum of security threats and enhance interoperability and with more nations participating than ever before, we can increase innovation and build a ready, united force that ensures stability in the region.”
Participating assets include the U.S. Navy’s dry cargo ammunition ship USNS Wally Schirra (T-AKE 8), Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) and a maritime surveillance aircraft P-8 Poseidon along with the Philippine Navy’s BRP Antonio Luna (FF 151), Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force’s JS Akebono (DD 108) and the Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Vancouver (FFG -331).
As the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, functions as Expeditionary Strike Group 7’s Sea Combat Commander and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.
Under Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.