BUSAN, Republic of Korea - The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) arrived in Busan Oct. 11 for a scheduled port visit in conjunction with Eastern Endeavor 10, an international Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercise hosted by the Republic of Korea.
While in port, volunteers from Lassen’s crew will participate in a community service (COMSERV) project to help in the upkeep of the Blue Bird Senior Citizens Health Center. The home was formed in 1955 and was originally intended as shelter for orphans of the Korean War.
“It is a wonderful feeling being able to provide a necessary service to those in need. It gives us the rare experience to share in the local culture not normally open to visitors,” said Lassen’s Community Service Coordinator Operations Specialist 1st Class Joshua L. Eddy.
PSI, which takes place this week, is an international voluntary activity, not an organization, focused on stopping trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Participating with Lassen in the exercise are ROKS Yi Sun Shin (DDH 975), ROKS Dae Jo Young (DDH 977), and ROKS Birobong (LST 682) from the Republic of Korea Navy, an Australian Navy P-3C Orion, and JS Asayuki (DD 127), JS Isoyuki (DD 132) from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Eastern Endeavor aims to halt illicit WMD proliferation by promoting proactive information sharing and enabling the development of capabilities and authorities that improve coordinated action between like-minded nations.
“This exercise is an important step for advancing international efforts to deter proliferation of WMD. We are looking forward to the unique opportunity to operate with three of our allies in the region to improve our interoperability, share tactics, and build upon already strong relationships,” said Cmdr. H. B. Le, Lassen’s commanding officer.
The events during the exercise include sea boarding drills, a simulated interdiction scenario ashore and subject matter expert exchanges that involve a number of interagency participants from several nations who plan to discuss interdiction-related issues and explore government decision making processes.
Since PSI’s inception in September 2003, 70 endorsing nations have participated in more than 40 PSI exercises. This is Lassen’s first time participating.
Lassen is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.