USS COWPENS At Sea
- The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile
cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) hosted Republic of Korea (ROK) navy
sailors after completing a port visit to Busan, Republic of Korea,
The ROK sailors, one lieutenant and
three chief petty officers, were with the Cowpens approximately 10
days during her underway in the 7th Fleet area of operations.
Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Christina Mason said she really
enjoyed the chance get to know foreign sailors and discuss the
differences and similarities between the two nations and navies.
“It was so cool, because one of them was a sonar technician like
me,” said Mason. “I got to show him how we operate, and he even
helped us with a couple of evolutions.”
The program that allows visits like this is designed to let ROK
sailors have the unique opportunity to visit foreign navy ships
According to ROK Senior Chief Petty Officer Ill Hoon Cho, the
application, test and selection process to take part in this program
is extremely competitive.
"This year alone there were more than 500 packages submitted from
interested ROK sailors,” said Cho. “After applications and
performance evaluations were reviewed and test scores compiled, it
was narrowed down to 30.”
Cho said the test questions are comprised of Korean naval history
and English language ability and each year, there are six available
spots for officers and six for chief petty officers and above.
While on board, the guests observed daily operations at sea. Their
goal was to bring back what they have learned and compare with the
way the ROK navy operates.
“I was especially excited to learn about the U.S. Navy’s maintenance
and material management (3M) program,” said Cho. “I am a maintenance
chief and it seems the [3M] program on board Cowpens is very well
organized and convenient to use.”
The ROK navy visitors were anxious to observe US Sailors and their
warship operating underway.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our relationship and
ensure US and ROK navies are operating together as effectively as
possible,” said ROK navy Lt. Wook Hyun Min.
"There is always a slight difference in procedures and modes of
operation," he said. "Our job is to observe these differences and
integrate so that when we operate as a joint force, we are
Lt. Christopher Bongard, Cowpens training officer, said these visits
are crucial for the success of Forward Deployed Naval Forces.
“In today's diverse maritime environment, bi-lateral cooperation is
becoming more important than ever before. Opportunities like this
one are essential to the success of joint nation operations,” said