EAST CHINA SEA (NNS) -- USS Guardian (MCM 5) started its patrol of the 7th Fleet area of responsibility Feb. 28, following its participation in exercise Foal Eagle.
Guardian was one of two Navy mine countermeasures ships that participated in the exercise, conducting mine hunting operations off the Korean peninsula. USS Avenger (MCM 1) also participated.
Foal Eagle takes place yearly as a reflection of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, which was signed Oct. 1, 1953. The purpose of Foal Eagle is to enhance combat readiness that demonstrates the alliance commitment to the defense of ROK through the combined and joint training.
Guardian Sailors manned watch stations with a port and starboard rotation, working six hours on and six hours off, four days straight.
Sailors aboard Guardian benefited from the real world training the exercise scenarios presented.
"It was refreshing to actually get a chance to look for real contacts instead of sitting in a simulator," said Mineman Seaman Cody Doerrman, a sonar operator whose job during the exercise was to identify several mine-like contacts.
The ship carried out its first fuel replenishment at sea, with USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9), March 11
Mine countermeasures ships, due to their size and speed, refuel from astern rather than alongside the ship.
Guardian was on station approximately 600 yards astern of Matthew Perry, said Ensign Dan Rocha, USS Guardian conning officer.
Mineman Seaman Vincent Ramirez earned his master helmsman qualification as a steersman, by steering the ship on a precise course prescribed by the conning officer.
"The evolution was well-planned, and the command made it simple to execute," Ramirez said. "The officer of the deck and conning officer were in control the whole time and kept the bridge calm. I was very excited to have been included in the evolution."
Guardian serves under Commander Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force. CTF 76 is headquartered aboard White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.
For more news from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/c7f/.