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PHIBRON Staffs Prepare for Foal Eagle

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070326-19
Release Date: 3/26/2007 5:37:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Adam R. Cole, Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

ABOARD USS ESSEX (NNS) -- As the brain behind amphibious operations for the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESXARG), members of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 have been eagerly awaiting the chance to work side by side with Republic of Korea (ROK) counterparts. Their chance came when operations for the exercise Reception, Onward Movement, Staging, and Integration (RSOI) and Foal Eagle (FE) 07 began March 26.

Pre-exercise discussions have already taken place, and on March 24 the PHIBRON 11 staff welcomed the staff of ROK Navy’s PHIBRON 53 to lay the ground work for a shared flag plot space, the nerve center of amphibious activities.

Together, the two forces are executing their planned amphibious operation by jointly creating tasking orders and working together to ensure that those orders are carried through.

“We are basically taking two staffs and making them one, such that neither us or nor them is in charge, but rather both staffs take on a shared responsibility of mission accomplishment,” said Capt. Eric C. Young, PHIBRON 11 chief staff officer.

Young was involved in last year’s RSOI/FE 06 and witnessed then this type of two into one evolvement of the staffs.

“What you develop, as the exercise goes on, is working relationships and friendships,” he said. “Even though there are language barriers, you work through and even develop a joint communication ?language.’”

Maintaining communication is something that the staff already is realizing is very important. Staff members have already noticed a keen attention to detail in their counterparts and are encouraged by their professionalism to get the job done.

“As with any type of operational contingency, there are issues that naturally arise. The challenge and exciting part is working through those issues collaboratively with our ROK counterparts,” said Lt. j.g. Brad Tonder, assistant action officer for the exercise. “Throughout, we will be working side by side on the watch floor and even sharing a few communication circuits. The integration is the key aspect to this.”

The role of the PHIBRON, for the United States and Republic of Korea, is not only in the planning, but also in the execution, as those in the PHIBRON flag plot will maintain a close accountability of where amphibious assets are going and when they get there.

In this respect, operation specialists will also have to find the common ground and language with ROK counterparts. Operations Specialist 3rd Class Andrew J. Steiner is excited about having this opportunity.

“I am interested to see how they do business, how they operate,” said Steiner. “I think there will be a language barrier, but I think we can work past that barrier simply by doing job we were trained to do.”

PHIBRON 11 is the command and control staff for the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, which serves under Expeditionary Strike Group 7 / Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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