WATERS THE WEST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA -
Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Commander, Maritime Task Flotilla (MTF) 7 Rear Adm. Kim Jong-Il, and members of his staff, embarked the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Shiloh (CG 67) as part of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group (GWCSG) for five days July 15-19 while conducting bilateral operations off the coast of the Republic of Korea.
The ROKN sailors boarded the ships while in port Republic of Korea to work side by side U.S. Navy sailors with the intent of improving the collective warfighting readiness of the two forces and learn each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures.
“I see three main benefits to bringing Maritime Task Flotilla 7 of the Republic of Korea navy on board George Washington and integrating them with Task Force 70 staff,” said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. “It allows MTF 7 staff to see the tactical operational deployment of a carrier strike group in the West or East Sea and therefore improve their situational awareness of how we would operate during a contingency. It allows them to provide us with their knowledge of the specific environmental and operational factors in the waters immediately surrounding Korea and share their lessons learned, tactics, techniques and procedures, thereby elevating our staff’s warfighting readiness. Lastly, it allows us to operate together, and the more often we operate together in peacetime, the more likely we will be able to integrate smoothly during the confusion that might be surrounding a contingency.”
While aboard, the visitors toured the ship’s spaces to become familiar with Sailors’ daily lives, compare standard operating procedures and learn about how the U.S. Navy conducts operations underway.
“By embarking the carrier with my staff and living on board for a few days we are able to see how the U.S. Navy operates an aircraft carrier, how Sailors live and work on board and how the crewmembers implement our shared tactics in the combined operations we are having together,” said Kim. “Although we do operations together on a regular basis, by coming here and seeing the crew operating with my own eyes, I am now able to go back and pass along this knowledge and information to ROK navy.”
The U.S. Navy regularly conducts bilateral operations with its partners and allies in and around the Korean peninsula to strengthen maritime interoperability and enhance forward-deployed proficiency while operating with foreign military forces.
“When we are doing a mission in the Korean theater of operations, by U.S. Navy and ROK navy training and conducting exercises together, we can carry out that mission more effectively and more successfully,” said Kim. “In the areas where we need improvement and development in terms of procedure and tactics, by working side by side we can identify those areas and have discussions to improve them step by step.”
GWCSG provides a combat ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of its partners and allies by supporting security and economic stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.