An MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter from Helicopter Squadron (HM) 14 approaches ROKS Wonsan (MLS 560) during exercise Clear Horizon. (U.S. Navy/PO2 Jermaine M. Ralliford)

BUSAN, Republic of Korea - U.S. mine countermeasures units commenced training with Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy and regional partner counterparts for the first multilateral iteration of the mine countermeasures (MCM) exercise Clear Horizon 2016, Oct. 16.

Clear Horizon is an annual multinational exercise designed to increase the capabilities and coordination between ships, aircraft, and undersea MCM forces between participating nations, which include the U.S., Republic of Korea, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

This is the first year since the Korean War the Philippines and Thailand have participated in an exercise in the waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula.

"As allies, we are committed to building on our collective expertise in this critical warfare area," said Capt. Jim Miller, commodore, Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7. "This exercise provides great training value, and we look forward to working with our ROK counterparts along with our regional partners over the next week."

During the exercise, U.S. Navy MCM units will work with Korean MCM units and partners to practice clearing routes for shipping, as well as conducting training surveys for clearing future operational areas.

Mine clearing helicopters are scheduled to practice hunting mines from the air. Helicopters also are scheduled to practice deck landing qualifications on participating ships.

Explosive ordnance personnel will conduct helicopter casting operations and very shallow water operations to simulate neutralizing mines.

U.S. Navy participation includes mine countermeasures ship USS Warrior (MCM 14), Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7, MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14 (HM-14), and teams from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 1.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Steve Lissberger, center, carries an MK 18 MOD 1 unmanned underwater vehicle to the water during exercise Clear Horizon in Jinhae. (U.S. Navy/PO2 Daniel Rolston)