The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) along with other U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) navy ships concluded their participation in Exercise Foal Eagle 2014 (FE 14), March 15.
FE 14 is an umbrella of bi-lateral and joint exercises held annually that strengthens the interoperability and teamwork between U.S. and ROK military forces, while enhancing the security and readiness of the ROK.
“Foal Eagle 2014 was a great success,” said Cmdr. De For, Curtis Wilbur’s commanding officer. “It was a fantastic opportunity to work with our friends, the Republic of Korea navy, and a great experience for everyone on board. I’ve been blessed with a great crew. They work hard, they take operations seriously, and they’re ready at all times. I couldn’t be happier with them, or the drive they’ve shown during this underway.”
During the week-long exercise, U.S and ROK Navy ships executed various bi-lateral events at sea that honed the tactical capabilities of both navies, while enabling enhanced joint operations with Army and Air Force assets. FE 14 stretched the limits of both forces and focused on the complex coordination required in a combat environment.
The exercise afforded a unique training opportunity to watchstanders of all ranks and rates as they worked side-by-side with ROK navy exchange officers to improve command and control between the two navies. Additionally, Curtis Wilbur provided two exchange officers to the ROK ship, Sejong the Great, further enhancing interoperability and coordination throughout FE 14.
Twenty-three year old Ensign Luke Lumsden, one of four conning officers, tactically maneuvered the ship during FE 14’s large scale photo exercise, in which U.S. and ROK navy ships steamed in close formation.
“I’m a brand new Ensign, so I took this opportunity to learn as much as possible,” Lumsden said. “I really enjoyed working with the Korean Sailors we had on board. They were very knowledgeable about their ship’s maneuvers and tactics and were very interested in learning about the way we do things. I think this was a great training environment for both U.S. and Korean forces.”
Additionally, Curtis Wilbur conducted a port visit at Pyeongtaek, where Sailors participated in various events with the local community and ROK sailors, to include a community service event at Onnuri Sarangchae Yoyangwon Senior Citizen’s Home, a ship tour, visit to the ROK ship Cheonan memorial, and various sporting events.
Press Release, March 19, 2014; Image: Wikimedia