USS LASSEN, At Sea - The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) concluded its participation in the ilateral exercise Foal Eagle 2014 (FE 14), March 15.
Foal Eagle is a series of annual training events that are defense-oriented and designed to increase readiness to defend the Republic of Korea (ROK), maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula, and strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance while promoting regional peace and stability. The exercises enhance the combat readiness posture of the alliance through combined joint training.
"Working with our allied partners in the Korean theater represents a test of true readiness," said Cmdr. Michael Smith, Lassen's commanding officer. "Each individual navy trains hard on their own, but when we train together we take it to the next level. Foal Eagle validates the close cooperation between our two navies in a real world setting"
Prior to beginning at-sea portion of the exercise, Lassen visited the city of Pyeongtaek, ROK, March 8-10. While in port, Lassen and ROK sailors visited a local retirement home to care for and entertain the elderly. Sailors also visited Seoul and participated in other military-to-military events.
Lassen departed Pyeongtaek with several ROK navy (ROKN) exchange officers on board to work along-side the ship's crew.
"I think that Foal Eagle is very important for us," said Lt. Choi Young-suk, a Lynx helicopter pilot with the ROKN. "We always learn so much from the U.S. Navy, but I think that the U.S. Navy can also learn from us. From a tactical level, I think it's a great benefit for the future of both nations."
Choi, who was aboard to observe helicopter operations, was impressed with Lassen's crew.
"The crew has been excellent hosts," said Choi. "They are extremely professional in the way that they operate and very dedicated to their duty, and at the same time very kind and gracious."
Lassen participated in several scenarios during the exercise with multiple U.S. and ROK ships and aircraft. Each training event featured unique tactical scenarios to drive training proficiency.
Lassen is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan and is on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of stability and security in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region.