The U.S. Navy and Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy concluded a multi-domain bilateral exercise on Sept. 27, nearing the 70-year anniversary of the two countries’ Oct. 1, 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty.
The U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Robert Smalls (CG 62) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86), assigned to Commander, Task Force 70, joined a Korean Navy force led by Maritime Task Flotilla (MTF) 7 surface ships, as well as bilateral air and sub-surface assets, during the exercise.
“Over the last 70 years, our alliance with the Republic of Korea has proven to be one of the strongest and most durable in modern history,” said Rear Adm. Pat Hannifin, Commander, Task Force 70. “Exercises like this allow our navies to not only maintain confidence in our ability to fight together as a unified force, but to get better, find efficiencies and continue innovating. Our bilateral navy team is more proficient and more powerful now than it’s ever been, and this exercise was a perfect chance to showcase that.”
Participating Korean ships include Sejong the Great-class guided-missile destroyer ROKS Yulgok Yi I (DDG 992), Chungmugong Yi Sunshin-class helicopter destroyer ROKS Dae Joyeung (DDH 997) and the first-in-class fast-combat support ship ROKS Cheonji (AOE 57).
The bilateral exercise included personnel exchanges, coordinated maneuvering, anti-submarine warfare drills and combined refueling operations, among other dynamic interactions.
USS Robert Smalls and USS Shoup are deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.