WATERS SURROUNDING THE KOREAN PENINSULA (NNS) -- U.S. Navy and Republic of Korea Navy ships commenced the maritime portion of exercise Foal Eagle 16, March 22.
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS McCampbell (DDG 85), USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), and USS Benfold (DDG 65) operated with approximately 10 ROK Navy ships for seven days off the coast of the ROK peninsula.
"U.S. Navy ships and ROK Navy ships executed a plethora of relevant combat readiness operations and learned more about our two navies' ability to cooperate and work together," said Cmdr. Ed Sundberg, commanding officer of McCampbell, command flag ship for FE16 West Coast operations. "Foal Eagle continues to be a key event for our navies to develop better maritime tactics and procedures. This strengthens our U.S.-ROK commitment to stability in the region."
Foal Eagle is a series of joint and combined field training exercises conducted by Republic of Korea-United States Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea component commands, to include ground, air, naval, and special operations.
Nearly 10,600 U.S. forces will participate in FE16, with ROK forces from major ROK units representing all services also participating. The exercise ensures the ROK-U.S. alliance is prepared to defend the Republic of Korea.
Destroyer Squadron 15, responsible for eight forward-deployed U.S. destroyers and approximately three rotationally deployed destroyers in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, is the U.S. lead for maritime operations in Foal Eagle. DESRON 15 commands and controls advanced naval warfare exercises such as anti-air defense, anti-surface warfare, and anti-submarine warfare evolutions, opposed replenishment drills and Maritime Interdiction Operations.
"The United States has an ironclad commitment to ROK and in turn, the relationship between U.S. Navy and ROK Navy is resilient and extends beyond Foal Eagle," said Capt. Jeff Bennett, deputy commodore, DESRON 15 embarked on McCampbell. "We continue to discuss and execute tactics, techniques, and procedures with ROK Navy throughout the year so major exercises such as Foal Eagle are valuable and enhance our combat readiness posture."
McCampbell, Fitzgerald, and Benfold, each with a crew of about 300 Sailors, are conducting routine patrols in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Each ship is equipped to conduct independent operations, with a carrier strike group or other partner navies to demonstrate U.S. commitment to security and stability across the region.
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