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NEWS | March 13, 2015

U.S., Republic of Korea Navy Affirm Strategic Alliance

By Lt. j.g. Courtney Keiser, Destroyer Squadron 15 Public Affairs

U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy ships concluded the maritime portion of exercise Foal Eagle March 11.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), and USS Lassen (DDG 82) operated with total of 16 ROK Navy ships in port and at sea for seven days on both coasts of the Korean peninsula. Additionally, USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) is the first littoral combat ship to operate as part of Foal Eagle's maritime participants involved in the exercise.

"U.S. and ROK Navy ships executed numerous combat readiness events and continued to build on our common operational experiences," said Cmdr. Chase Sargeant, commanding officer of John S. McCain (DDG 56), command flag ship for Foal Eagle West coast operations. "Foal Eagle is a key exercise for our navies to develop better interoperability and strengthen the US-ROK commitment to stability in the region."

Exercise Foal Eagle in an umbrella of regularly-scheduled, annual exercises that are the culmination of many months of planning and based on realistic training scenarios. The exercises demonstrate the continued U.S. commitment to the ROK-U.S. alliance and enhances operational readiness.

"The relationship between U.S. Navy and ROK Navy is strong and extends beyond Foal Eagle," said Capt. Christopher Sweeney, deputy commander, Destroyer Squadron 15, embarked aboard John S. McCain executing Foal Eagle. "We continue to execute, flex, and discuss tactics, techniques and procedures with ROK Navy throughout the year, which make major exercises such as Foal Eagle valuable for testing our combined tactical responses and continue to enhance our readiness posture."

Destroyer Squadron 15, responsible for seven forward deployed U.S. destroyers and approximately five rotationally deployed destroyers in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, is U.S. lead for maritime operations in Foal Eagle. Destroyer Squadron 15 commands and controls advanced naval warfare exercises as part of Foal Eagle such as anti-air defense and anti-submarine warfare evolutions, opposed replenishment drills and naval surface fire support (NSFS) operations.

Fort Worth, deployed with the surface warfare mission package, provided key capabilities for sea to land combat operations as part of Foal Eagle's maritime component, as well as introducing new forms of technology that will be folded into the overall mission sets.

"Fort Worth's warfighting capability is aligned to the maritime mission on the Korean peninsula - critical to our ability to protect and maintain stability in the region," said Capt. Shan Byrne, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 15. "We are pleased to add LCS to the U.S. Navy's enduring presence in the Korean Theater of Operations."

Michael Murphy, John S. McCain, and Lassen, each with a crew of about 300 Sailors, will continue patrols throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Fort Worth will remain deployed to the region as part of a 16-month rotational patrol. Each ship is equipped to conduct independent operations, with a carrier strike group, or with other partner navies to demonstrate U.S. commitment to security and stability across the region.

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