Japanese, US destroyers meet at sea for holiday gift exchange

Sailors from Japanese destroyer JS Yuugiri (DD 153) and U.S. Navy’s USS Shiloh (CG 67) met at sea to exchange holiday gifts on December 28.

A week before, sailors from Japanese helicopter carrier JS Izumo visited U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan for a gift exchange and ship tour.

During the meeting, each party presented a traditional gift from their respective countries in celebration of the holidays and the new year.

Cmdr. Yoshihiro Yamashita, commanding officer of Yuugiri, along with several members of his crew, presented a pair of Kadomatsu, traditional Japanese New Year decorations made of pine branches and bamboo. The Kadomatsu are intended to bring good luck and prosperity in the coming new year.

In return, Capt. Adam Aycock, Shiloh’s commanding officer, and representatives from Shiloh presented a traditional American holiday wreath to Yamashita and his crew.

Following the exchange, guests toured the ship, visiting spaces such as the bridge and various damage control spaces. The guests were served an American-style lunch of burgers, French fries and fresh-baked cookies prepared by the ship’s culinary specialists.

Lt. Ryota Yokokawa, navigation officer of Yuugiri, explained the history behind the JMSDF ship’s name. Yuugiri means “fog” in the Japanese language.

Ens. Joseph London explained to the crew members of Yuugiri the Battle of Shiloh and the Civil War heritage that is the cruiser’s namesake.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the crews of Shiloh and Yuugiri exchanged final goodbyes along with command ball caps and coins.