By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Abraham Essenmacher, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea Public Affairs
CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Republic of Korea (ROK) Lt. j.g. Gyeong Min Lee, operations officer of ROK Ship Hae Nam (MSH 573), embarked aboard mine countermeasures ship USS Chief (MCM 14) to further cooperation between the U.S. and ROK navies during Exercise Foal Eagle, April 5-11.
During his first underway period aboard a U.S. Navy ship, Lee made note of the similarities and differences between the U.S. and ROK navies while observing the joint training operations.
The bilateral mine countermeasures training is conducted annually during Foal Eagle and is designed to strengthen the interoperability between U.S. and ROK forces.
"Foal Eagle training has been very significant, because Korea and the U.S. are resolved in working together in mine warfare operations," said Lee. "It was interesting learning about the differences between the American mine countermeasures ships and Korean vessels, because both navies can learn from each other's expertise and knowledge."
One detail Lee made note of was that U.S. mine countermeasures vessels have two cranes to lower Mine Neutralization Vehicles (MNV), while the Korean versions have one. Lee also noted the U.S. Sailors' attention to detail and emphasis on safe and effective operations at sea.
"It's been really useful to see his point of view about daily operations aboard Chief," said Ensign Andrew Rumments, weapons officer on Chief, who was Lee's sponsor during the embarkation. "The ROK and U.S. Navy face similar challenges, but we find different solutions."
While aboard Chief, Lee toured the ship, stood watch with Rumments and discussed MNV operations as well as sonar detection capabilities.
"This has been my first time working alongside a partner navy," said Rumments. "This type of dialog ensures that if the need arises, we are ready to operate with our partners, and it also allows us to examine ourselves from an outside perspective."
Lee said the exercise provided significant training to the ROK and U.S., while reaffirming both nations' commitment to working together in mine warfare operations.
"I wanted to help promote our friendship and enhance our combined mine warfare skills on a personal level," said Lee. "It was an honor to serve beside our U.S. Navy partners."
Exercise Foal Eagle 2015 is a series of annual training events that are defense oriented and designed to increase readiness and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula while strengthening the ROK-U.S. alliance and promoting regional peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The U.S. 7th Fleet maintains routine presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to help promote maritime security and develop partnerships with friends and allies. Forward-deployed U.S. naval presence contributes to freedom of navigation, operational readiness, and enables an exchange of culture, skills, and tactical knowledge with nations throughout the region.