Foal Eagle 98
As one of the largest defensive exercises in the world, FOAL EAGLE 98 provided more than one million active and reserve members of the Republic of Korea and U.S. armed forces an opportunity to train in a challenging and realistic environment. Approximately one million regular and mobilized reserve ROK forces participated in this important test of the ROK's defense capabilities, particularly in rear areas.
Conducted during the latter part of October and early November 1998, FOAL EAGLE 98 trained and evaluated the interoperability, communications links, and the combined requirements necessary for Korean and American forces to successfully defend and protect Korea from attacks against key facilities in critical rear areas. It was the first FOAL EAGLE to fully integrate many formerly independent events into a single exercise with a common scenario.
The exercise consisted of two training phases which simulated hostile threats and the defense of airfields, ports, and military bases. The first part provided a second-front scenario in the rear areas, including airbase defense. The second part included a force-on-force field training exercise in the Twin Bridges Training Area, a corps-versus-corps battle, and a combined Marine amphibious assault exercise on beaches near Pohang, Korea.
The 3d Brigade Combat Team, Tacoma, Washington, participated in the first combined-joint logistics over the shore (C-JLOTS) operation in the Republic of Korea during Exercise Foal Eagle '98. The goal of the exercise was to create a stable and secure environment in the region. The 3d Brigade transported equipment into Korea to serve as a deterrent to potential invading forces and, if deterrence should fail, provide offensive military power. The brigade loaded cargo onto the USNS Pollux, a fast sealift ship, at the Port of Tacoma. The ship crossed the Pacific Ocean and anchored approximately 2 miles from the Port of Pusan. Most of the equipment was discharged from the anchored Pollux to smaller logistics support vessels (LSV's) that can navigate through shallow waters and access beaches or damaged ports. A mobile, floating pier served as a bridge that allowed vehicles to drive off the Pollux and onto an LSV for the trip to shore. Other vehicles and containers were lifted by crane, lowered onto barges, and ferried to shore. Once delivered to the port, the cargo was staged for rail movement to Camp Casey in Tongduchon. The operation tested the joint and combined ability to project a combat force into a region. Experience with LOTS operations is critical because more than 90 percent of wartime cargo and fuel is transported on ships, and large ships often cannot be docked in port. The uncertainty of port capabilities during war dictates that alternate methods of transporting cargo be available.
FOAL EAGLE 98 marked the first time that all players in the exercise were equipped with the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), which adds a significant level of realism to the scenarios. MILES is equipment fitted to weapons, soldiers and their vehicles. A receiver device signals when hit by the harmless lasers of opposing force MILES-equipped weapons. It allows forces to engage in realistic battle conditions without the loss of soldiers or equipment.
FOAL EAGLE 98 provided combined ROK-U.S. Special Operations Forces an excellent training opportunity, serving as opposing forces during rear-area operations. Base commanders experienced realistic simulated attacks, gaining valuable insights into their base defense strengths and vulnerabilities.
Air operations included combined interdiction missions, close air support, and suppression of enemy air defense missions. Interdiction missions involved ROK KF-16s, F-4Ds and F-5s and U.S. Air Force F-16s from Kunsan Air Base, Korea; U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18s out of Iwakuni, Japan; and U.S. Navy F/A-18s, F-14s and E-6Bs off the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. Numerous sorties were also flown to repel simulated air attacks, including F-15 missions flown by the Hawaii Air National Guard. Air base security defense exercises honed the skills of base security units and a variety of other support organizations as well.
Two of these large field training exercises in FOAL EAGLE involved ground troops. These exercises included a corps-versus-corps battle at the ground maneuver area between the ROK Army's 6th and 3rd Corps.
Another ground event was the brigade-level battle in the Twin Bridges Training Area between ROK and U.S. Army brigades. This involved fighting the 39th Armor Brigade of the ROK on their own terrain, using their own equipment, moving into battle positions that they know well. Some 1,000 soldiers of the U.S. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry deployed from Ft. Lewis, Washington, for FOAL EAGLE 98. The unit is tasked to "round out" its parent division, the 2nd Infantry Division, already stationed on the peninsula for the defense of the ROK.
Another critical event during "Foal Eagle" was the execution of Fleet Battle Experiment DELTA, the fourth in a series of experiments designed to test technological improvements in sensor-to-shooter abilities. Undersea warfare, SEAL team special operations, air wing power projection, and live fire exercises are also part of the exercise. U.S. forces have the advantage of more sophisticated sensors, communications and weapons, but ROK's strength lies in phenomenal numbers of small ships that are great for coastal operations.
The exercise contained a number of important firsts that made this year's FOAL EAGLE the best ever conducted. This is the first year that the Navy was able to establish anti-submarine operations centers off both coasts of Korea, coordinate across the peninsula via U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy early warning radar aircraft, link up with the Combined Forces Command headquarters on the ground, and have an accurate, secure link picture available to all parties in both the East and West Sea. It was also the first year that CTF-70 had tactical command of both ROK and American submarines for the same exercise, something made possible by the presence of Submarine Squadron ONE and the squadron's submarine assistance team aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).
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