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Tortuga Arrives to Complete RSOI / Foal Eagle 07

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070326-13
Release Date: 3/26/2007 5:22:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon A. Myrick,

USS Tortuga Public Affairs

USS TORTUGA, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and embarked elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in the Republic of Korea (ROK) on March 23 to conduct Reception, Staging, Onward-Moving and Integration (RSOI) and Foal Eagle (FE) 07.

RSOI and FE are concurrent exercises conducted annually and are held by Combined Forces Command (CFC)/U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) jointly with the ROK armed forces. RSOI and FE are designed to enhance overall readiness and alliance building.

“This exercise provides training for Sailors and Marines to demonstrate U.S. resolve to support the ROK against external aggression while improving ROK/U.S. combat readiness and combined interoperability,” said Commanding Officer Cmdr. Todd A. Lewis.

While involved in Foal Eagle, Tortuga plans to take advantage of the training opportunity for its personnel, in addition to sustaining interoperability between the forces.

“These exercises help teach, coach, and mentor younger military personnel while exercising senior leader decision-making capabilities,” said Tortuga’s Operations Officer Lt. Robert D. Starks. “We are confident that Tortuga officers and enlisted will develop their skill sets from the evolutions to take place here.”

In conjunction with RSOI 07, the joint and combined field training exercise referred to as Foal Eagle will be again linked with RSOI as it has been for the past several years.

Prior to 2001, RSOI and FE 07 were conducted separately, and while both exercises independently met training objectives, analysis indicated linking the two could provide better opportunity to train all CFC echelons. Linking the two provided opportunity for leader mentoring at all levels, reduced operational tempo for CFC forces and cost savings, according to exercise planners.

FE 07 is a joint and combined field training exercise conducted by CFC/USFK components, focusing on ground maneuver, air, naval expeditionary and special operations.

“RSOI and FE training exercises are essential to all participating military forces to hone and retain unit and individual skills,” said Lewis. “It is particularly essential in a binational defense organization such as CFC to ensure interoperability and readiness of the forces.”

Tortuga’s operational commitment to RSOI is how the ship’s crew trains and evaluates how to receive military units in Korea, connecting units with their equipment once in country, moving them into their strategic position on the peninsula and integrating newly arrived forces with the forces that are already in place.

Many of the Sailors on board Tortuga are going to get their first chance to experience Korea and the type of difficult training that occurs during this exercise.

“My grandfather served in the Marines during the Korean War and I heard all kinds of stories about his time here,” said Hull Maintenance Technician Fireman Christopher M. Turbyfill. “I feel fortunate and look forward to training in the same country I heard all about growing up as a child.”

Tortuga (LSD 46) is a dock landing ship serving under Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. ESG 7/Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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