Minesweeper Sailors Make Port Visit to Chinhae Before RSOI / Foal Eagle

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Mine warfare ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) is anchored in the waters just off of Hong Kong island as the crew makes a scheduled port visit. Patriot Sailors and embarked Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Five (EODMU-5), are visiting Hong Kong after several relationship enhancing visits and interoperability-focused exercises throughout Southeast Asia. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam R. Cole

By Chief Electricians Mate (SW) Noel B. Corneja, USS Patriot Public Affairs CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- The crew of USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Chinhae, Republic of Korea, March 21 in preparation for the upcoming bilateral exercises Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration (RSOI) and Foal Eagle (FE) 07.

While in ROK, Patriot will participate with ROK mine sweepers to increase bilateral interoperability in this mission area. The ship’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Tom Shultz, knows the importance of the training and couldn’t be happier to be in Korea. “The ship is really excited about having the opportunity to train and conduct different mine warfare missions as part of the upcoming exercise,” said Shultz. “It is a time to prove to others what the Patriot is capable of doing, but also a time to build trust and friendships with our [Republic of Korea] allies.” For the forward-deployed mine sweeper based in Sasebo, Japan, the trip to Republic of Korea was almost like coming to a second home.

Patriot crew member Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW) Philip J. Iliescu knows Chinhae quite well. “I am looking forward to be back at Chinhae and work with our Korean counterparts and share our knowledge and skills in minesweeping,” said Illiescu. “Also, riding in a taxi back on the right side of the road reminds me a lot of home.” Other Patriot Sailors expressed similar thoughts of making the most out of the port visit. “I was here three years ago; I want to see the changes since the last time I visited Chinhae,” said Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Alfred S. Green, the senior quartermaster onboard Patriot. “Also, this underway period is beneficial to us as quartermasters to hone our skills.” The two Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships Patriot and USS Guardian (MCM 5) both forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, are participating in the annual RSOI/FE 07 exercise with the ROK naval forces to increase joint combat readiness. Patriot and Guardian both serve under the Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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