ABOARD USS ESSEX, At sea – As the
brain behind amphibious operations for the Essex Amphibious Ready
Group (ESXARG), members of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 have
been eagerly awaiting the chance to work side-by-side with Republic
of Korea (ROK) counterparts. Their chance came when operations for
the exercise Reception, Onward Movement, Staging, and Integration (RSOI)
and Foal Eagle (FE) 07 began March 26.
Pre-exercise discussions have already taken place, and the staff
welcomed the staff of ROK Navy’s PHIBRON 53 March 24 to lay the
ground work for a shared flag plot space, the nerve center of
amphibious activities. Together, the two forces planned and are
executing execute an amphibious operation by jointly creating
tasking orders and working together in coordinating that those
orders are carried through.
“We are basically taking two staffs and making them one, such that
neither us or nor them is ‘in charge,’ but rather both staffs take
on a shared responsibility of mission accomplishment,” said Capt.
Eric C. Young, chief staff officer, PHIBRON 11.
Young was involved in last year’s RSOI/Foal Eagle and witnessed then
this type of two-to-one evolvement of the staffs.
“What you develop, as the exercise goes on, is working
relationships—and friendships,” he said. “Even though there are
language barriers, you work through and even develop a joint
Maintaining communication is something that the staff is already
realizing is very important. Staff members have already noticed a
keen attention to detail in their counterparts and are encouraged by
their professionalism to get the job done.
“As with any type of operational contingency, there are issues that
naturally arise…the challenge and exciting part is working through
those issues collaboratively with our ROK counterparts,” said Lt.
j.g. Brad Tonder, assistant action officer for the exercise.
“Throughout, we will be working side-by-side on the watch floor and
even sharing a few communication circuits. The integration is the
key aspect to this.”
The role of the PHIBRON, for the United States and ROK, is not only
in the planning but also in the execution, as those in the PHIBRON
flag plot will maintain a close accountability of where amphibious
assets are going and when they get there.
In this respect, operation specialists will also have to find the
common ground and common language with ROK counterparts. Operations
Specialist 3rd Class Andrew J. Steiner is excited about having this
“I am interested to see how they do business, how they operate,”
said Steiner. “I think there will be a language barrier, but I think
we can work past that barrier simply by doing job we were trained to
Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 is the command and control staff
for the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which serves under
Commander, 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.
For more information, please visit www.ctf76.navy.mil.
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