Ottawa, Winnipeg first to visit Kure, Japan

Sailors from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, HMCS Ottawa, and HMCS Winnipeg after a baseball game. Photos by Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs

Sailors from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, HMCS Ottawa, and HMCS Winnipeg after a baseball game. Photos by Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs

SLt Matthew Golding, HMCS Ottawa ~

While deployed on Exercise Poseidon Cutlass 17, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Ottawa and Winnipeg became the first Canadian warships to visit Kure, Japan.

Kure, located near Hiroshima in the southern part of Japan, is a major shipbuilding city and the second largest naval base of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

The Japanese military welcomed Ottawa and Winnipeg to Kure July 5 with a ceremony in the hangar of Japanese Ship (JS) Umigiri where traditional gifts of flowers were exchanged.

Commodore J.B. Zwick, Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific, and the command teams of Ottawa and Winnipeg then met senior naval staff of the JMSDF at Kure Naval Base.

The visit continued over the following days with sailors from JS Abukuma and Ottawa touring each other’s ship.

“Touring JS Abukuma was really interesting,” said Sub-Lieutenant O’Rourke, a Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officer in Ottawa. “They use much of the same equipment as we do; there were far more similarities than differences in the two ships.”

Continuing the relationship building, the JMSDF invited the Royal Canadian Navy to join them for a baseball game. A joint team from Ottawa and Winnipeg started the game strong, scoring 11 runs in the first inning. The JMSDF team played well but in the end the Canadian team managed to pull off the victory.

“It was a great social sporting event,” said Petty Officer First Class Dagenais, a boatswain from Ottawa. “It was exciting to play baseball with the Japanese, laughing and having fun. After the game we all shook hands, bowed, and exchanged ship’s hats.”

After hosting the Canadian reception onboard Winnipeg, the Japanese hosted the ship’s delegation with a reception on board JS Umigiri. Cmdre Zwick and the command teams of both warships were given traditional mallets for the ceremonial breaking of the casks of sake.   

In addition to the official events, many Canadian sailors toured the nearby city of Hiroshima. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was a poignant reminder of the importance of fostering relationships and peace between nations.

Ottawa and Winnipeg continued exercising with the JMSDF while en route to Tokyo, which will be their last Asian port of call prior to making their final turn east towards Esquimalt and an August homecoming.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (5)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Dean Boettger says:

    It is definitely perilous to use a descriptor such as “first”. I would not be surprised if the destroyers during the Korean War used Kure as a port of call as well. 2 Squadron has visited Kure at least a couple of times, once in 1964 and 1983.

  2. Carl Souchereau says:

    HMCS ALGONQUIN Visited Kure Japan as part of her Far East Depoyment in 1996.

  3. Bill Christie R/Adm.(Ret) says:

    HMCS NOOKA visited Kure in 1951 while taking part in the Korean War.

  4. Doug Johnson says:

    You may want to look into Westploy 75 where training Sqn went to Japan and Korea with Provider and Ops Sqn was turned around part way because of the fall of Vietnam. I’m sure Kure was a port visit on that tour. That makes Winnipeg’s visit unlikely the “first” Canadian Warship, or have I read your lead line incorrectly?

  5. Jack Litzenberger says:

    HMCS WINNIPEG was in Kure during westploy 96. So this is not the first Canadian warship visit.

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.