US Army, December 21, 2014 - SAGAMI BAY, JAPAN – U.S. Army Aviation Battalion Japan crewmembers based at Camp Zama, Japan, added one more first to their list of accomplishments when they landed their UH-60L helicopters on the USS Stethem (DDG-63) while it was underway in Sagami Bay Dec. 14.
For most of the more than 300 Sailors it was a rare sight to see a U.S. Army helicopter sitting on the fantail of the forward deployed guided missile destroyer.
The four-man Army aircrews conducted 20 landings to maintain currency for single-spot deck landing qualifications.
At least five USAABJ crews maintain currency on shipboard landings which keep them qualified for six months.
Two UH-60Ls were used this day which also gave the U.S. Navy flight deck team a chance to become familiar with the Army helicopters and give them additional flight operations training.
The first shipboard landing was made by a USAABJ aircrew off the coast of Shizuoka Prefecture Sept. 1, 2013, when its aircrew landed aboard the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Murasame as part of a prefecture-wide disaster training exercise.
Last month (Nov. 6-9), USAABJ aircrews participated in the bilateral Michinoku response exercise alongside Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members around the Sendai area in northeastern Japan.
This area was struck by the world’s fifth most disastrous earthquake March 11, 2011. During this exercise the aircrews also conducted 20 landing on the JMSDF ship Kunisaki.