South Korea, U.S. conduct combined maritime counter-special operations exercise

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113) conducted a series of exercises with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy, April 24-27, in order to strengthen interoperability between the two nations’ navies.

The exercises completed during Maritime Counter-Special Operations Exercise (MCSOFEX) are defensive in nature and consist of routine bilateral training, subject matter expert exchanges, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare drills, communication drills, air defense exercises, boarding drills, and combined live fires, as well as formation sailing.

“Exercises like MCSOFEX improve our relationship and interoperability with ROK forces,” said Cmdr. Angela Gonzales, commanding officer of John Finn. “We had ROK Navy liaisons on our ship and John Finn liaisons on Sejong the Great. This provided for maximum cooperation and coordination as well as direct troubleshooting capabilities between the two ships.”

The U.S. regularly conducts operations with the ROK which strengthens the ROK – U.S. alliance and improves the regional security.

“This exercise is a defensive training to improve the ability to carry out combined operations in preparation for various maritime provocations. Through the practical ROK-US exercise, we expect to further strengthen battle posture and interoperability.” said Rear Admiral Select Hwang Jong Seo, Commander, 2nd Surface combat Flotilla, who led the exercise.

John Finn operated alongside U.S. Army AH-64D/E Apache helicopters attached to the 5th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, and several ROK ships.

John Finn is operating as part of Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71, U.S. 7th Fleet’s principal surface force. CTF 71 is responsible for the readiness, tactical and administrative responsibilities for forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers as well as any surface unit conducting independent operations in the region.

U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Text credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Samantha Oblander, Commander, Task Force 71, Destroyer Squadron 15

Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samantha Oblander. YELLOW SEA – 230427-N-CD453-1098 YELLOW SEA (April 27, 2023) U.S. Army AH-64D/E Apache helicopters attached to the 5th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, fly alongside Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John Finn (DDG 113) as the ship sails in formation with Republic of Korea Navy ships Sejong the Great-class guided-missile destroyer ROKS Sejong the Great (DDG 991), Daegu-class frigate ROKS Seoul (FFG-821), Gwangaetto the Great-class multipurpose destroyer ROKS Eulji Mundeok (DDH-972), Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class multipurpose destroyer ROKS Choe Yeong (DDH 981), and Ulsan-class frigate ROKS Cheongju, during Maritime Counter Special Operations Exercise (MCSOFEX) in the Yellow Sea, April 27. 

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