By Brandon Bosworth, Ho‘okele Assistant Editor
In 2015, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam hosted a wide array of visiting ships and dignitaries from around the world. Some of the ships making port visits to Pearl Harbor were from foreign navies.
In September, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) guided missile destroyer JS Ashigara (DDH 178) visited JBPHH after completing multilateral exercise Dawn Blitz 2015 in San Diego. Dawn Blitz is a scenario-driven exercise led by U.S. 3rd Fleet and 1st Marine Expedition-ary Force that tested participants in the planning and execution of amphibious operations through a series of live training events.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy [PLA(N)] midshipmen training vessel Zheng He (Type 679, Hull 81) visited JBPHH in October, and three [PLA(N)] ships—CNS Jinan (DDG 152), CNS Yiyan (FFG 548) and CNS Qiandaohu (AOE 886)— visited JBPHH in December.
Among U.S. Navy ships making port calls at Pearl Harbor were the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8).
On the Air Force side, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) hosted more than 70 Republic of Korea Air Force Academy (ROKAF) cadets during a visit to the headquarters in November.
Dignitaries from other nations also visited JBPHH in 2015.
In February, the crew of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) welcomed Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe, the wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The U.S. ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, accompanied Abe.
Gen Nakatani, the Japanese minister of defense, visited and toured the guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73) in November. Nakatani’s visit also included a tour of the Military Sealift Command’s sea-based X-band radar and a wreath-laying ceremony at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).
2015 also saw several U.S. military VIPs visiting JBPHH.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody visited with Airmen and hosted separate all-calls with junior and senior enlisted Airmen during his visit in January. The Air Force side of joint base welcomed Chief Master Sgt. Gay Veale, command chief master sergeant of the 11th Air Force, in July, and the commander of 11th Air Force, Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, in September.
In February, Vice Adm. Dixon R. Smith, commander, Navy Installations Command, visited his former command, Navy Region Hawaii.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility in April to make observations for the force of the future and the rebalance to the Pacific.
October saw Sailors on the USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) hosting Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike D. Stevens as part of the Navy’s 240th birthday celebration.
In November, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment Dennis McGinn toured the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Facility during his visit to military installations in Hawaii. The facility is a national strategic asset that supports military operations in the Pacific. Other 2015 visitors to the site included U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard as well as Hawaii Gov. David Ige.
Ige also visited Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility Dec. 21 to learn more about the historic shipyard’s national security mission and role as the state’s largest industrial employer. He toured the submarine USS Hawaii (SSN-776) undergoing maintenance in dry dock at the shipyard, and thanked the crew, project team and other waterfront workers for their contributions.