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Tortuga , ROK Team for Amphibious Landing

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070402-05
Release Date: 4/2/2007 12:20:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon A. Myrick, USS Tortuga Public Affairs

USS TORTUGA, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Tortuga (LSD 46) joined forces with amphibious ships and destroyers from the Republic of Korea (ROK), to conduct an amphibious landing near Mallipo Beach, Republic of Korea, on March 29 as part of exercise Foal Eagle 07.

Foal Eagle is an annually scheduled exercise involving forces from the United States and the Republic of Korea to improve combat readiness through interoperability.

Tortuga, along with three landing craft air cushions (LCACs) assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 Detachment Western Pacific-Alpha and Beach Master Unit (BMU) 1, worked together with ROK Marines to transport equipment such as tanks, Humvees and artillery to the shores for the beach landing.

“Foal Eagle 2007 went terrifically well and as planned,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class David S. Bell, navigator for Landing Craft (LC) 58 of ACU 5. “Both United States and ROK displayed the kind of teamwork we have come to expect.”

Tortuga successfully launched LC 58, which took a ROK tank and a BMU command and control vehicle to Mallipo Beach, as well as LCs 57 and 81, which brought ROK tanks accompanied by four ROK Marines.

“I enjoy seeing our two countries conducting this type of exercise,” said ROK marine Master Sgt. Jung Won-Kim, who hit the beach on LC 58 during the initial wave. “I feel both the United States and ROK received great training on all levels.”

The beach landings not only served as training for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to work closely with its ROK counterparts, but they also doubled as an opportunity for Sailors and Marines embarked on Tortuga to conduct some work, as well as some leisure, with ROK Marines.

“I enjoy being on Tortuga and find the training very beneficial,” said ROK Marine, Staff Sgt. Jang Chul Hwang. “Besides the operational training, playing cards and talking to Tortuga Sailors has helped my English as well.”

Tortuga Sailors found out during this operation that their ROK counterparts are also always training and working hard.

“The ROK Marines are always in the gym working out; it has motivated me to get in there and start working out more often as well,” said Quartermaster Seaman Kevin Bell.

The beach landing proved to be a strong culmination for Foal Eagle’s amphibious component. While weather conditions were not always favorable, the Navy and Marine team and the ROK Navy-Marine Corps persevered to learn as much as possible from the training evolution.

“Through this combined effort, both U.S. and ROK forces have shown true teamwork and leadership on operational and logistics levels to get this task completed,” said Tortuga Commanding Officer Cmdr. Todd A. Lewis. “Their interactions aboard Tortuga, be it work or play, allowed all service members -- American or Korean, Sailor or Marine -- to come together for a decisive close to Foal Eagle.”

Tortuga 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 at Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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