Japanese Training Squadron Drops Anchor in Tampa

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TAMPA -

Members of Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force are calling the Port of Tampa their home for the next few days. The visit by two training vessels and a destroyer marks the first time that the Port of Tampa has been included as a port of call on the Japanese squadron's yearly officer training mission.

The trip will provide hands-on seamanship training to about 200 junior-rank officers who have graduated from Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force Academy.

While stationed here, the squadron's 800 sailors participate in a variety of activities throughout Hillsborough County. They plan to tour of the Florida National Cemetery, where Japanese Commanders will lay a wreath as a symbol of unity between Japan and the United States. They'll also pay a visit to Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base.

The public is invited to tour the ships the next two day. Today, the two training vessels will be opened to tours;' and all three ships will be open on July 4.

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