April 3, 2017 – U.S. mine countermeasures, surface and expeditionary assets and counterparts from the Republic of Korea navy wrapped up the mine countermeasures portion of the bilateral exercise Foal Eagle March 29.
Foal Eagle is a series of joint and combined field training exercises conducted by Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea components (ground, air, naval, and special operations) in order to enhance the combat readiness, flexibility, and capabilities of the Alliance.
The MCM portion of Foal Eagle was conducted off the coast of the Republic of Korea southern city of Chinhae March 19-29. MCM units coordinated efforts to identify and neutralize mines as well as clear routes to ensure safety of navigation in a minefield.
At a tactical level, the participating units practiced unit-level mine countermeasure tactics to include sweeping, hunting, and neutralization using remotely operated vehicles, sonar and sweep gear.
“Our alliance with Republic of Korea is as strong as ever,” said Capt. Jim Miller, commodore, Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7. “Exercises like these allow us to build bonds between counterparts so that we can improve how we operate together and are ready to jointly respond when called upon.”
U.S. participating units included USS Warrior (MCM 10), USS Chief (MCM 14), Mine Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 14, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit-1, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diver Platoon 342, and the staff of MCMRON 7.
The U.S. routinely works with Republic of Korea to increase combined mine countermeasure capabilities and wrapped up Clear Horizon last October.
HM-14 is currently forward deployed to Pohang, Republic of Korea. Warrior and Chief are based in Sasebo, Japan and all serve under Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, headquartered in Okinawa, Japan. EODMU 1 is stationed in San Diego, CA and serves under Explosive Ordnance Group One. EOD Platoon 342 is forward deployed to Guam and serves under CTF-75.