Sailors aboard USS Patriot (MCM 7) retrieve a training mine during exercise Foal Eagle. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Wesley J. Breedlove)

CHINHAE, Republic of Korea - The U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK) navies conducted combined mine countermeasures training March 28 – April 1 as part of exercise Foal Eagle 2016.

“Mine warfare is a complex warfare area, and it's important to know what each team brings to the fight,” said Lt. Cmdr. Emily Royse, commanding officer of the mine countermeasures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7). “The ROK Navy has been a longstanding bilateral partner, and the ability to train alongside such a capable force allows our crew to hone their tactical and technical skills."

Royse later added that combined training exercises like those in Foal Eagle are important because it helps each force understanding their counterpart's capabilities.

"This [Foal Eagle] provided our crew an excellent opportunity to work with our ROK partners and flex our warfare abilities,” Royse said. “ Integrating our operations is vital to maintaining security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

During the exercise, U.S. and ROK Sailors, including explosive ordnance disposal divers, worked together to practice clearing shipping routes and to conduct training surveys.

"It’s critical to work with our ROK Navy teammates,” said Lt. Jacob Fischer, Patriot’s operations officer. “They’re a strong ally, and together we increase our proficiency in mine warfare."

Foal Eagle is a series of joint and combined field training exercises, conducted by the Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea component commands, which enhances the combat readiness, flexibility, and capabilities of the ROK and U.S. alliance.

Patriot and USS Chief (MCM 14), which also took part in the training, are two of four Avenger-class MCMs assigned to Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7, commanded by Capt. Mike Dowling, a combined readiness and tactical staff responsible for mine countermeasures in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations. The squadron is forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan, with a helicopter mine countermeasures squadron detachment in Pohang, ROK.