Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Pioneer (MCM 9) departed Ishigaki, Okinawa, Japan, September 8, following a port call during routine operations and training in the region.

The Pioneer’s visit highlights the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance and represents the U.S. Navy’s commitment to security presence in the Pacific.

“It’s been a long time since a U.S. Navy ship was in port in Ishigaki and we are thrilled that USS Pioneer got the opportunity to come visit and engage with the local community,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chase Harding, commanding officer of Pioneer. “Even though we are based in Sasebo, it’s always great to look for opportunities to continue to engage with our Japanese allies.”

While in Ishigaki, Pioneer Sailors conducted a beach cleanup as a community relations event. They also met with members of the Japanese Coast Guard, the Yaeyama police department and other municipal leadership, as well as representatives from local associations and businesses.

USS Pioneer, assigned to Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7 (MCMRON 7), Task Force 76/3 and Expeditionary Strike Group 7, is forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan in the US 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting mine countermeasure operations to support preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.