CHINHAE, Republic of Korea – The Commander, Destroyer Squadron Nine (DESRON 9) and the Chief of Staff for Commander, Task Force Three Four (CTF-34) recently traveled to the Republic of Korea (ROK) Naval Base in Chinhae, Republic of Korea, to attend training for the upcoming 2014 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.
Capt. William Triplett, commodore for DESRON 9, and Capt. Rodney Urbano, chief of staff for CTF-34, attended a week of training with the ROK’s Navy Maritime Task Squadron Seven Two (MTS 72).
MTS 72 is commanded by ROK Navy Commodore Nam Dong-Woo, who will serve as the sea combat commander (SCC) for CTF 170 during the RIMPAC exercises off the coast of Hawaii in July.
DESRON 9 brought subject matter experts in the areas of surface operations, plans and tactics, air operations and submarine operations.
The week of training was tailored to the challenges MTS 72 is likely to face while stepping into a role defending CTF 170 USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), highlighting duties and responsibilities of the SCC as well as the daily routines and detailed planning that are normal to strike group operations.
“We forget sometimes just how much we have to do and how strange it must be for anyone stepping into this role because we are used to doing it,” said Triplett. “This training focuses on identifying their questions early and provides them a foundation for success. If they are successful, we are successful.”
Also in attendance for two days of training was Commander, Destroyer Squadron Fifteen (DESRON 15) Capt. Paul Lyons, whose staff has provided similar training in the past. Lyons provided detailed insight into the operations familiar to the ROK Navy and a different perspective on how to accomplish the many tasks of the SCC.
Captain Lyons answers a question from MTS 72 staff while attending training with Captain Urbano and Captain Triplett. (photo by LT James Barfoot)
Rounding out the training was Urbano, with other theater ASW subject matter experts to provide an in depth discussion of submarine safety throughout the exercise. “It is of particular importance for a SCC and his staff to have a thorough understanding of the rules for ASW,” said Triplett. “In RIMPAC, we will accomplish training objectives. We will get better at what we do, we will do it safely, and safety is the priority.”
The trip also included an office call to Commander-in-Chief, Republic of Korea Fleet and a tour of the Sejong the Great class destroyer ROKS Yulgok Yi I (DDG 992) with the MTS 72 staff and Rear Adm. Kim Jongil, Commander, Maritime Task Flotilla Seven (MTF 7).
While not a RIMPAC participant, DDG 992 is the same class as the RIMPAC participant ROKS Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong (DDG 993) which will serve as the flagship for MTS 72 and will be the home for the SCC staff.
“It is a very capable ship and I am glad I had the chance to learn more about the ship before we execute,” said Triplett. “I am looking forward to continuing to work with MTS 72 and a very successful RIMPAC.”