Naval Exercise Wraps Up In South Korea

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2010 — As the Unit­ed States and South Kore­an mil­i­taries wrapped up four days of joint naval exer­cis­es, the task force com­man­der said he’s “excep­tion­al­ly sat­is­fied” with capa­bil­i­ties demon­strat­ed dur­ing oper­a­tions that sent a strong deter­rent mes­sage to North Korea.
“It cer­tain­ly sends a mes­sage of col­lec­tive and uni­fied deter­rence –- that we are pre­pared, we are ready, col­lec­tive­ly, as allies,” Navy Rear Adm. Dan Cloyd, com­man­der of Task Force 70 and Car­ri­er Strike Group 5, said last night dur­ing a Pen­ta­gon Chan­nel inter­view. “We cer­tain­ly hope our activ­i­ties here send a mes­sage that we are capa­ble and we are ready to respond togeth­er to any poten­tial con­tin­gency.”

The exer­cise was the third in the “Invin­ci­ble Spir­it” series Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and then-South Kore­an Defense Min­is­ter Kim Tae-young agreed to over the sum­mer after North Korea sank the South Kore­an navy ship Cheo­nan in March, killing 47 South Kore­an sailors.

The lat­est exer­cise, Cloyd said, was con­duct­ed to rein­force U.S. com­mit­ment to its alliance with South Korea, to reas­sure oth­er allies in the region of that com­mit­ment and to demon­strate free­dom of move­ment in inter­na­tion­al waters through­out the West­ern Pacif­ic.

About 6,000 sailors aboard the air­craft car­ri­er USS George Wash­ing­ton and embarked Car­ri­er Air Wing 5, the cruis­er USS Cow­pens and destroy­ers USS Lassen, USS Steth­em and USS Fit­ger­ald par­tic­i­pat­ed, along with South Kore­an navy ships and their crews. In addi­tion, both coun­tries’ air forces par­tic­i­pat­ed. Oper­at­ing off South Korea’s west­ern coast, they con­duct­ed sus­tain­abil­i­ty, readi­ness and inter­op­er­abil­i­ty train­ing cov­er­ing a broad spec­trum of oper­a­tions, from sur­face and anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare to air defense, Cloyd report­ed.

“By train­ing and prac­tic­ing these varies types of capa­bil­i­ties and skills togeth­er, it allows us to be more pre­pared to oper­ate and exe­cute these kinds of mis­sions should it be nec­es­sary to do so any­where in the West­ern Pacif­ic region,” he said.

Cloyd said he’s “extreme­ly con­fi­dent in our col­lec­tive capa­bil­i­ties to be able to exe­cute any num­ber of mis­sions we may be asked to do,” from “high­er-end” oper­a­tions such as those prac­ticed dur­ing the exer­cise to human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter response.

The first Invin­ci­ble Spir­it exer­cise, con­duct­ed in July, focused on naval and air readi­ness. The sec­ond, in Octo­ber, involved five days of anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare exer­cis­es. The third exer­cise ini­tial­ly was slat­ed for late Octo­ber, but it was post­poned due to sched­ul­ing issues. It began days after North Korea launched an artillery attack against the South Kore­an island of Yeon­pyeong that left four dead, includ­ing two South Kore­an marines.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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