U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo is a United States Navy naval base, in Sasebo, Japan, on the island of Kyūshū. It provides facilities for the logistic support of forward-deployed units and visiting operating forces of the United States Pacific Fleet and designated tenant activities.
Sasebo has been an important naval base since 1883, when Lieutenant Commander Tōgō Heihachirō nominated the tiny fishing village to form the nucleus of a mighty base for the Imperial Japanese Navy. In 1905 ships of the Japanese Navy under Admiral Togo sailed from Sasebo to take on the Russian Baltic Fleet. Admiral Togo's victory at the Battle of Tsushima is a classic in naval history.
The Imperial Japanese Navy had some 60,000 people working in the dock yard and associated naval stations at the peak of World War II, outfitting ships, submarines and aircraft. In those days, just as today, Sasebo was a favorite liberty port for navy personnel.
When war broke out in Korea three years later, Sasebo became the main launching point for the United Nations and the U.S. Forces. Millions of tons of ammunition, fuel, tanks, trucks and supplies flowed through Sasebo on their way to the U.N. Forces in Korea. The number of Americans in Sasebo grew to about 20,000; and some 100 warships and freighters per day swelled the foreign populations still more.
After the Korean War ended, the Japan Self-Defense Forces were formed, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces ships began to homeport in Sasebo. The U.S. Fleet Activities continued to support ships of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. Service Force ships as well as minecraft made Sasebo their homeport.
The U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo provided heavy support to the expanded Seventh Fleet during the years of war in Southeast Asia. Repair work done by Japanese shipyards in Sasebo was then, and is still today, equal to the best in the world. In the mid-seventies, the U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo became the Naval Ordnance Facility Sasebo, and fleet visits dwindled to a very low level.
On 4 July 1980, this trend was reversed when U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo regained its name, and Seventh Fleet ships were once again forward-deployed to Sasebo.
U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo played a vital logistics role in Operation Desert Shield/Storm during 1990–91, by serving as a supply point for ordnance and fuel for ships and Marines operating in the Persian Gulf theater. One expert has recommended the Navy close Sasebo due to its vulnerability to a Chinese attack and the Navy's need to shed infrastructure.
Sasebo was expanded as a result of the East Asian foreign policy of the Barack Obama administration, with a doubling of the number of LCACs stationed there.
Current ships permanently forward deployed
Commander Amphibious Squadron 11(COMPHIBRON 11)
- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) (since 2012)
- USS Denver (LPD-9) (since 2008)
- USS Tortuga (LSD-46) (since 2006)
- USS Germantown (LSD-42) (1991-2002, since 2011)
Commander Mine Countermeasure Squadron 7(COMCMRON 7)
- USS Avenger (MCM-1)
- USS Defender (MCM-2)
- USS Warrior (MCM-10)
- USS Patriot (MCM-7) (since 1994)
- USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50)
Ships formerly permanently forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan
- USS Mars (AFS-1)
- USS Niagara Falls (AFS-3)
- USS White Plains (AFS-4)
- USS Passumpsic (AO-107)
- USS Hassayampa (AO-145)
- USS Ajax (AR-6)
- USS Beaufort (ATS-2)
- USS Brunswick (ATS-3)
- USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) (1992-2000)
- USS St. Louis (LKA-116)
- USS Dubuque (LPD-8) (1985-1999)
- USS Juneau (LPD-10) (1999-2008)
- USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) (2002-2011)
- USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) (1995-2006)
- USS San Bernardino (LST-1189)
- USS Epping Forest (LSD-4/MCS-7)
- USS Darter (SS-576)
- USS Barbel (SS-580)
- USS Surfbird (ADG-383)
- USS Essex (LHD-2) (2000-2012)
• USS Albatross (MSC-289)
- "Vacate Sasebo". G2mil.com. http://www.g2mil.com/sasebo.htm. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
- Matt, Burke; Kusumoto, Hana (8 October 2013). "Fleet of air cushions vital to safeguarding island chain". Stars and Stripes. http://www.menafn.com/fb75382b-a4bd-49f2-a774-ca9296ec85d1/Fleet-of-air-cushions-vital-to-safeguarding-island-chain. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
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