- The Republic of Korea Consulate General Cho Jung-Won and Principal Officer U.S. Consulate Fukuoka Jason R. Cubas visited forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), Dec. 29.
The guests spent their morning touring 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 in order to learn more about the capabilities and assets of Sasebo and the Essex Amphibious Readiness 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 has recently participated in patrols of the South China Sea, Philippine Sea and the Celebes Sea. During the tour, Cubas remarked about how impressed he was with Essex’ multiple capabilities.
“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, describing the success of the Navy and Marine Corps team in recent exercises such as Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 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.