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Juneau Completes Foal Eagle 2007

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070403-12
Release Date: 4/3/2007 7:09:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Michael Gomez, USS Juneau Public Affairs

ABOARD USS JUNEAU (NNS) -- USS Juneau (LPD 10), embarked Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Republic of Korea (ROK) Marines successfully completed Exercise Foal Eagle (FE) 2007 on March 29 with a combined amphibious landing.

FE is an annual exercise meant to improve interoperability and combat readiness between U.S. and ROK forces and build on the long-standing alliance between the U.S. and ROK.

Juneau played an important role in the exercise by launching amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) of both nations in conjunction with four ROK Navy ships ROKS Hyangrobong (LST 683), ROKS Birobong (LST 682), ROKS Gojunbong (LST 681) and ROKS Sunginbong. The four ROK ships and Juneau launched a total of 32 Korean AAVs and 13 U.S. AAVs.

“It is a great experience to work with the ROK Marines and to be a part of establishing a stronger connection between the U.S. Forces and ROK Marines,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class (SW) Lennox T. Lewis, petty officer in charge of the well deck operations. “I had a good time working with them.”

Juneau’s launch of the AAVs allowed 31st MEU and ROK Marines to reach Mallipo Beach on the western side of the Republic of Korea. Each wave of AAVs were launched with a close interval of 11 seconds each. Deck department aided in completing the mission successfully.

“We are good at what we do; our team is always prepared for all amphibious operations,” said Lewis.

During the AAV launches, Juneau was also simultaneously conducting flight operations. The ship’s air department received an assortment of helicopters -- CH-53E Sea Dragons and CH-46 Sea Knight and a SH-60B Seahawk Helicopter -- which landed for refueling before taking to the air for the aerial part of the landing.

The Juneau air crew refueled the helicopters expeditiously and helped transport embarked Marines to their destination.

“Safety is paramount in recovering and refueling the helicopters; a small spark can create a tremendous fire,” said Aviation Support Equipment Airman Brandon S. Boyd. “The weather was very cold, but we still managed to get the job done.”

While the operations were underway, ROK Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sung Go Lee, who was embarked as a liaison officer, got to see first hand the Foal Eagle amphibious operations from the Juneau bridge.

“I’ll never forget my time on the ship; I had a great time being here,” said Lee. “I had many good experiences watching the ship and learned a lot of things, mainly how to communicate better the U.S. Navy.”

At the end of the amphibious landing, Juneau anchored and successfully recovered the AAVs.

“The coordination between ROK and U.S. Sailors and Marines was truly impressive,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nate J. Moyer, Executive Officer of Juneau. “The entire exercise was well planned, decisively executed and resulted in an incredibly successful training opportunity for both nation’s Navy’s and Marine Corps.”

Juneau, commanded by Capt. John D. Alexander, is part of the Sasebo, Japan-based Essex Expeditionary Strike Group, which serves under Commander, Task Force 76. Task Force 76 is the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force and is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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