DONGHAE, Korea - USS Stethem (DDG 63) arrived in the port of Donghae, Republic of Korea (ROK), March 17 for a visit in preparation for exercise Foal Eagle 2011.
Exercise Foal Eagle is an annual exercise designed to build upon the defensive capabilities of the ROK.
Approximately 18,000 U.S. troops are involved in the exercise. The purpose of Foal Eagle is to enhance combat readiness through combined and joint training with the ROK.
"Most importantly, this visit to the city of Donghae gives us a chance to coordinate directly with our ROK navy counterparts, allowing for continued enhancement of the bilateral planning process," said Cmdr. Hank Adams, Stethem's commanding officer. "In addition, we will be able to continue to strengthen our relations with the local community."
Stethem was welcomed to Donghae by the commanding officer of the ROK navy ship, Kyong Buk (FF 956).
During the visit, U.S. Sailors will have the opportunity to meet face to face with their ROK counterparts as part of the exercise's coordination and planning process.
Stethem service members will also participate in several community relations events, host tours of Stethem and compete in a soccer game against ROK Sailors.
"This exercise demonstrates the U.S. commitment to her alliance with the Republic of Korea, and affords us the valuable opportunity to enhance the combat readiness of both U.S. and ROK forces," said Adams.
Stethem will play a large role in this year's exercise, drawing on the experience of past exercises and operations as part of forward-deployed naval forces in Japan.