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US-Korean Navies Work Together During SALVEX Korea 2019

By Petty Officer 1st Class Gregory Johnson | commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific | March 15, 2019

SINGAPORE -- U.S. Navy divers assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 and Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy diving and salvage experts began Salvage Exercise (SALVEX) Korea 2019, March 13.

The bilateral exchange is focused on combined diving and salvage operations and subject matter expert exchanges. In addition, divers from both navies participated in full-mission profile salvage operations, including the use of side-scan sonar and remote operated vehicles.

“Exchanges like this one are extremely valuable to both navies in terms of our ability to operate together,” said Master Chief Joshua Dumke, Master Diver for Commander, Task Force 73, and lead SALVEX planner. “Becoming more familiar with each other’s equipment and capabilities makes it much easier for us to work together if a real-world operation were to happen.”

This year marks the 35th iteration of SALVEX, which dates back to 1985. According to Lt. Cmdr. Tim Emge, diving and salvage officer for Commander, Task Force 73, the U.S. 7th Fleet has a unique relationship with its Korean partners.

“We have a waiver to dive with ROK Navy systems,” said Emge. “This has a significant impact on our operational capabilities because we can deploy divers with limited gear and seamlessly conduct interoperable dive operations.”

Emge said the complexity and the tangible value of the training scenarios get better each year due to the planning, teamwork and innovation of Sailors from both nations.

“SALVEX is an important opportunity for both navies to enhance our diving and salvage capabilities,” said Emge. “For more than three decades now, we have had a valuable, successful relationship and we continue to build on that relationship, as well as our interoperable capabilities.”

MDSU-1 provides combat-ready, expeditionary, rapidly deployable mobile, diving and salvage capabilities to conduct harbor clearance, salvage, underwater search and recovery, and underwater emergency repairs in any environment.

Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific/CTF 73 provides combat-ready logistics to the U.S. 7th Fleet and is the executive agent for more than 20 bilateral and multilateral security cooperation exercises with partner nations throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
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