By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan G. Greene, Naval Air Facility Atsugi Public Affairs
NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan (NNS) -- The third annual Maritime Operation Helicopter Committee (MOHC) convened this week between U.S. Navy and Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) helicopter squadrons, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51 and Squadron 629.
Representatives from the Republic of Korea Navy Air Group 62, Squadron 629 traveled to Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi for the joint U.S. Navy and ROKN conference.
After a successful first meeting of the MOHC at NAF Atsugi in 2013, both squadrons met again as representatives of U.S. Navy Commander Task Force (CTF) 70 and ROKN Air Group 62 to sign a memorandum of understanding in 2014, strengthening personal and professional relationships within the allied maritime helicopter community.
"I've enjoyed spending time and hearing the insight that our Korean counterparts have to offer," said HSM-51 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Steven Froehlich. "This is the first year I've been able to participate in this event and it's been a huge success. I have learned a lot from them, and I can only hope they can say the same."
Last year, the conference was held in Chinhae, Korea. The trip to NAF Atsugi was the first for Squadron 629 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Lee Moon-Ki and his team.
"I had the pleasure of hosting then-Commanding Officer Cmdr. Thaddeus Johnson, and it was a real honor," said Moon-Ki. "This year we were very excited to get to come to Japan to see how the U.S. Navy operates on the ground level. Ultimately, that's what this committee is all about, increasing the ground level awareness and learning how we can best complement one another in peacetime and war."
The Committee met for four days discussing a range of topics including take-off and landing procedures, interoperability and future goals and missions.
"This whole event has been huge in getting to work with our Korean counterparts and also to grow and improve personally and professionally," Froehlich added. "Moon-Ki and I have observed that we've got many commonalities in the way we can carry out our missions and responsibilities and it's quite impressive to me, as well as to all of those who have the opportunity to work with them."
Moon-Ki added that it's events like these that help set apart militaries and squadrons but most importantly people. This committee was created to help boost not just military power, but to better and to grow the people that participate. For that purpose alone Squadron 629 will forever be grateful to participate.
With the event coming to a close, and many newfound friends parting ways, the lessons learned during the MOHC will continue to play a significant role in the U.S. Navy and ROKN team, enabling the maritime helicopter community to fly together safely and effectively.