Republic of Korea Navy sailors welcome USS Mustin's (DDG 89) arrival in Busan, Jan. 29. (Photo courtesy of ROK Navy)

BUSAN, Republic of Korea - Sailors from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Mustin (DDG 89) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) are strengthening partnerships with the Republic of Korea navy during a port visit to Busan, Jan. 29 - Feb. 2.

During the port visit, crew members plan to conduct warfighting skills engagements and exchanges with their ROK Navy counterparts and visit local sites in the Busan community.

"This opportunity for bilateral engagement allows us to foster existing friendships while emphasizing shared tactics and technology between the U.S. and ROK navies," said Lt. Richard Ray, operations officer aboard USS John S. McCain.

The ships just concluded a series of bilateral training exercises with the ROK navy in international waters east and west of the Korean peninsula. The routine exercises focused on reinforcing teamwork and interoperability between the U.S. and ROK navies while giving Sailors the opportunity to sharpen their tactical skills. The exercises covered a full spectrum of scenarios including antisubmarine warfare training, communication drills, ship maneuvers, and naval liaison officer exchanges.

While in Busan, Sailors from both ships will also have the opportunity to conduct community relations engagements in the local Busan community. Fostering enduring relationships through community relations with local citizens, teambuilding activities with the ROK Navy, and regular bilateral training is part of the U.S. Navy's contribution to sustaining a strong alliance between the U.S. and the ROK.

"Through bilateral training, we can improve our proficiency and integration with U.S. Navy ships," said Cmdr. Lee, Jong-Sik, of the Republic of Korea Fleet Headquarters in Busan. "However, it is through port visits like in Busan, that we can truly share our Korean culture and heritage as Sailors with our U.S. Navy counterparts."

Mustin and John S. McCain are forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, as part of the U.S. 7th Fleet, which maintains an enduring presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. As multi-mission platforms, the ships can carry out independent operations or operate in conjunction with a carrier strike group or other partner navies to conduct maritime security and stability operations across the region.

USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) and USS Mustin (DDG 89) operate with Republic of Korea Navy ships during a routine bilateral training exercise, Jan. 18 in waters west of the Korean peninsula. (U.S. Navy)
Cmdr. Joseph A. Torres Jr., commanding officer of USS Mustin (DDG 89), is greeted by the daughter of a Republic of Korea Navy sailor after the ship arrives in Busan. (Photo courtesy of ROK Navy)