Task Force 76 Assets Complete RSOI/FE in ROK
Story Number: NNS060406-08
From Commander, Task Force 76 Public Affairs
USS ESSEX, At Sea (NNS) -- Components of Commander, Task Force (CTF) 76 and embarked elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed Reception, Staging, Onward-movement and Integration (RSOI) and Foal Eagle (FE) 2006, March 31, in the Republic of Korea (ROK).
A combined amphibious landing consisting of Task Force 76 ships of the Sasebo, Japan-based Forward-Deployed Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) culminated the weeklong exercise.
“This exercise showcased a level of integration between U.S. and ROK forces that has rarely been seen. It was enormously rewarding to see the PHIBRON (Amphibious Squadron) 11 staff working side by side with the ROK PHIBRON 53 staff in the USS Essex (LHD 2) Flag watch space," said Cmdr. Eric Young, chief staff officer, PHIBRON 11.
Essex, USS Juneau (LPD 10) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 43), along with units from Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1 and ACU 5, conducted the amphibious landing on a beach in Manripo on the west coast of the ROK, providing the sea-based platform and ship-to-shore capability for the beach assault. CTF 76’s forward-deployed minesweepers USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Patriot (MCM 7), also based in Sasebo, conducted mine sweep operations with ROK mine countermeasures ships.
Concurrent with the surface amphibious assault, ROK helicopters conducted an air assault together with helicopters from the 31st MEU’s Aviation Combat Element (ACE) transporting ROK marines to an abandoned airfield landing zone.
"Both of our countries learned a great deal during Foal Eagle 06," Young said. “We feel this exercise substantially bolstered our enduring pact with the South Koreans, who have been and will remain our friends and allies for a long time to come.”
Throughout the exercise, CTF 76 Sailors and ROK Marines closely interacted. Both sides worked through the language barrier coordinating important planning details during the combined exercise.
As hosts during the embark, U.S. Sailors made sure their ROK guests feel welcome aboard the U.S. Navy ships, a partnership that resulted in a safe and productive training exercise.
“We share a warrior bond with the ROK forces, one solidified by our common aim of defending the southern peninsula,” said Capt. Ronald Horton, Juneau’s commanding officer. “Whether in training or for real-world defense, we conduct operations side-by-side with our ROK counterparts.”
Republic of Korea personnel shared similar thoughts toward their U.S. counterparts.
“It has been good to train with Americans,” said Capt. Jin-ho Kim, who was embarked on Juneau and oversaw the amphibious operations there. “The greatest thing I learned from them is American kindness.”
RSOI/FE is one of two annual command post exercises (CPX) held by U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) with the ROK armed forces. RSOI/FE 06 is designed to improve the commands' abilities to defend the ROK and includes a full range of equipment, capabilities and personnel. This year’s exercise marked the 45th Foal Eagle exercise and the fifth time it’s been combined with RSOI.
Task Force 76 is the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered in White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.
For related news, visit the Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/ctf76/.