WATERS SURROUNDING THE KOREAN PENINSULA (NNS) – U.S. Navy and Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy ships commenced the maritime portion of exercise Foal Eagle 17, March 21.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Stethem (DDG 63) participated in Foal Eagle 2017 with the ROK Navy. Capt. Jeff Bennett, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, embarked on McCampbell to lead the event. The Carl Vinson Strike Group, and various units from the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force also participated in the exercise.
Foal Eagle 17 is a series of annual defense-oriented training events designed to increase readiness to defend the ROK, protect the region, and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula. The exercise is conducted by ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command and United States component commands in Korea, to include ground, air, naval and special operations.
"We continue to advance the complexity and combined level of effort for this mission. This is the best level of effort we have achieved in recent years, perhaps ever," said Bennett, "It is truly impressive to see the combined effort in this mission and great teamwork between U.S. Army AH-64s, all-day and night support from U.S. Air Force A-10s, Commander Task Force (CTF) 72 and ROK Navy Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), U.S. Air Force JSTARS, our destroyers, and ROK Navy units."
During Foal Eagle 17, DESRON 15 was the U.S. lead for maritime operations in the waters to the west of Korean Peninsula.
DESRON 15 and ROK Navy 2nd Fleet improved interoperability skills through events that focused on command-and-control skills, anti-air defense, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, opposed replenishments, and maritime interdiction operations.
While conducting the exercise at sea, McCampbell’s embarked MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, attached to the "Warlords" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51, operated with U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II planes, U.S. Army AH-64 Apache helicopters, and U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.
"This exercise greatly advanced our interoperability skills," said Cmdr. Ed Angelinas, McCampbell’s commanding officer. "It was a great opportunity for McCampbell to work with other DESRON 15 Destroyers, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force counterparts in a combined maritime operation with the ROK Navy."
McCampbell, Barry, and Stethem, each with crew of about 300 Sailors, are conducting routine patrols to support security and stability within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.