BUSAN, South Korea -- Operational readiness and mine countermeasure proficiency at sea was the focus of an international conference hosted by the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea, October, 13, 2022.
Representatives from the Republic of Korea (ROK) alongside United Nations Command (UNC) Sending States and other security partners met to exchange expertise and discuss methods to enhance coordination and training in critical mine countermeasure capabilities.
“We are honored to be able to host such productive exchange of tactics and best practices with a group of experienced navies,” said Rear Adm. Mark Schafer, Commander, Naval Forces Korea and Navy Component Commander to the UNC, “UNC Sending States and security partners are committed to safe passage through waters around the Korean peninsula. We routinely promote cooperation on a broad range of naval capabilities, including mine countermeasures. Events such as this are instrumental in keeping that commitment and ensuring proficiency in all areas of naval warfare.”
Countries represented include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, The Republic of Korea, Singapore, Turkey, the UK, and USA.
In addition to the symposium, Sailors from representative countries had the opportunity to promote esprit de corps by competing in various sporting events such as soccer, dodge ball and basketball.
“In a way it really shows how close our countries are that we can get together and do activities like this, that we can come together and put work aside for a moment and build camaraderie through fun activities,” said Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Brian Mares who participated in the events. Mares is from Port Hueneme, Ca. and is currently stationed aboard the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7).
UNC is recognized as the lead for Armistice Agreement enforcement and an enabler for security and stability on the Korean Peninsula. UNC demonstrates the international community’s long-standing commitment to conflict prevention during Armistice; facilitates dialogue and actions that lead to a lasting peace; and if necessary, provides an efficient, exercised, and enduring platform to coordinate Sending State contributions in response to crisis or conflict.
The Symposium concluded October 14, when Sailors went to the Busan UN Memorial Cemetery to pay their respects, followed by a volunteer opportunity at the Korean War Veterans Hall/Community Center.