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U.S., ROK Ships Defend, Provides Fire Support for Foal Eagle ATF

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070403-08
Release Date: 4/3/2007 7:03:00 PM

By Ensign Victoria Tacconelli, USS Cowpens Public Affairs

USS COWPENS, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Cowpens (CG 63) teamed up with Republic of Korea (ROK) multi-threat defense ships to successfully defend the Foal Eagle Amphibious Task Force (FE-ATF) and also to provide crucial fire support during the task force transit and amphibious landing as part of exercise Foal Eagle 07 March 26-29.

The training brought Cowpens and ROKS Yoe Soo (PCC 765), ROKS Kwang Myong (PCC 782), and ROKS Yangmanchun (DDH-973) together to simulate both protection and proactive threat engagement as amphibious ships worked to complete their main objective of Foal Eagle: the landing.

While the FE-ATF transited east around the southern part of the Republic of Korea to the amphibious objective area, Cowpens and ROK ships of Corvette Squadron 32 guarded the combined amphibious task force against subsurface, surface and air threats. Additionally, when amphibious ships readied for the landing, the cruiser and its counterparts directed simulated fire power ashore, also known as naval surface fire support drills.

“Foal Eagle 07 represents a unique opportunity for my crew to sail side by side with the ROK Navy and to practice essential maritime skills that we will need in times of crisis,” said Capt. Terry Mosher, Cowpens commanding officer.

The defense of the ATF pushed Cowpens and its counterparts to track and kill simulated inbound threats using shipboard weapons systems. The fire support drills gave Cowpens the opportunity to simulate targeting and firing on a given location to support the amphibious landing.

According to combat information center watch standers, the main focus of training was communicating between U.S. and ROK forces and working together to transfer data through a data-link system to create a wide tactical picture. The ship worked directly with ROKS Yeo Soo and ROKS Kwang Myong for the fire support drills.

“This was a great opportunity to complete communication-driven scenarios with our Korean partners,” said Operations Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Joshua Brough, tactical information coordinator (TIC) console operator. “It allowed us to test our systems using various LINK architectures.”

Besides the defense and fire support training, Cowpens was able to participate in other direct U.S.-ROK interoperability evolutions. It completed a refueling at sea with ROKS Daechung on March 28.

Cowpens also built relationships with a crew exchange. Two ROK Navy officers embarked aboard Cowpens while Lt. j.g. Terry Fitzgibbons and Ens. Caleb Humberd embarked aboard ROKS Yangmanchun to experience Korean shipboard life and help coordinate the bilateral efforts.

“I like how we show the U.S. Navy cares about its allies,” said Operations Specialist Seaman Recruit Derek Dobben, surface watch stander. “This exercise strengthens the trust they have in us and that we have in them.”

Cowpens is part of the forward-deployed naval forces of Task Force 70, based in Yokosuka, Japan. The cruiser is currently working with the Essex Amphibious Ready Group to form the Essex Expeditionary Strike for Foal Eagle 07.

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