SASEBO, Japan – A 2013 Columbia High School graduate and Columbia, South Carolina native is serving in Japan in the U.S. Navy aboard USS Germantown.
Fireman Timothy Cofer is an engineman aboard the ship operating out of Sasebo, Japan.
A Navy engineman is responsible for operating, maintaining and repairing diesel engines, generators, main propulsion machinery, refrigeration, air conditioning and various auxiliary equipment on the Germantown.
“All of this is new to me,” said Cofer. “I’ve only been on the ship for two months. Right now I’m learning mainly the main reduction gear and engine crankcase and preventive maintenance.”
With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the U.S. has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.
“Our alliance is rooted in shared interests and shared values,” said Adm. Harry Harris, U.S. Pacific Command Commander. “It’s not hyperbole to say that the entire world has benefited from the U.S.-Japan alliance. While our alliance helped stabilize the region after the Second World War, it also enabled the Japanese people to bring about an era of unprecedented economic growth. And for the last six decades, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have worked side by side with the Japan Self Defense Force to protect and advance peace and freedom.”
Commissioned in 1986, Germantown is the second Navy ship named after the Revolutionary War Battle of Germantown. With a crew of more than 900 sailors and Marines, Germantown is 609 feet long and weighs approximately 16,000 tons. Designed specifically to operate landing craft air cushion small craft vessels, Whidbey Island-class dock landing ships have the largest capacity for these landing crafts out of any U.S. Navy amphibious ship.
“I like the command so far,” Cofer said. “I like the closeness, I’ve made a lot of friends here. I also like serving in Japan. It’s something new. At first, I didn’t like it, but after a while, I figured I was going to be here a while so I better get used to it.”
Sea duty is inherently arduous and challenging but it builds strong fellowship and esprit de corps among members of the crew. The crew is highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
“My uncle served in the Navy and one of my cousins is currently serving as an aviation mechanic, so I feel like I’m following in their footsteps,” added Cofer. “I really wanted to get out in the world and serve my country like they did.”
The Navy’s presence in Sasebo is part a long-standing commitment.
“The U.S.-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Harris.
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