SASEBO, Japan - The Republic of Korea consulate general and the principal officer U.S. Consulate Fukuoka visited forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), Dec. 29.
ROK Consulate General Cho Jung-Won and Principle Officer U.S. Consulate Fukuoka Jason R. Cubas toured Command Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS) and later toured Essex after expressing an interest in seeing the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship.
Cho and Cubas visited Sasebo to meet with CFAS Commanding Officer Capt. Charles W. Rock and Essex' Commanding Officer Capt. David Fluker to learn more about the capabilities and assets of Sasebo and the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).
"It is an honor and a privilege to be able to host a tour of Essex for the Republic of Korea consulate general and principal officer, U.S. Consulate Fukuoka," said Fluker. "It is important for our allies in the region to understand the U.S. Navy's capability to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security and crisis intervention."
Fluker also spoke about Essex' role in the Essex Amphibious Ready Group as well as the ship's numerous recent patrols and exercises. Essex recently participated in patrols of the South China Sea, Philippine Sea and the Celebes Sea.
"The versatility of Essex is remarkable," said Cubas. "I think that it is important for America to educate our allies about the impressive and diverse functions of our Navy. I will personally do anything I can to showcase our nation's great fleet."
Fluker escorted Cho, Cubas and guests through the ship, and described the success of the Navy and Marine Corps team in recent exercises such as Amphibious Landing Exercise and Operation Tomodachi.
Essex is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.