US, South Korean, Canadian warships train in Yellow Sea ahead of Incheon anniversary
Stars and Stripes September 15, 2023
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Warships from the United States, South Korea and Canada drilled Thursday in response to continuing tension with North Korea, and ahead of the reenactment of a pivotal Korean War landing.
The amphibious assault ship USS America, homeported at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, joined the South Korean guided-missile frigate ROKS Seoul and Canadian frigate HMCS Vancouver on Thursday in the Yellow Sea, according to a news release that day from South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense.
The warships drilled on tactical maneuvers and helicopter operations, the release said.
“This exercise served as momentum to further improve our reaction posture and ability to deal with North Korea’s threats through the combined multilateral naval exercises by [South Korea], the U.S. and Canadian naval forces,” South Korean navy Cmdr. Kim Hyunseok said in the release.
The U.S. and South Korea have carried out several exercises around the Korean Peninsula with partner forces this summer.
On Aug. 29, the Japanese guided-missile destroyer JS Haguro joined the USS Benfold and South Korean destroyer Yulgok Yi I for a ballistic missile defense exercise in international waters south of South Korea’s Jeju Island.
Canada is a member of the U.N. Command headquartered at Camp Humphreys in South Korea.
Canada also took part in August’s large-scale Ulchi Freedom Shield exercise with U.S. and South Korean forces and in Sea Dragon, a U.S.-led multinational anti-submarine exercise off of Guam’s coast in March.
The country “is committed to maintaining a persistent regional presence to help promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific at large,” the Vancouver posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday.
Thursday’s drill occurred one day before the America, Seoul and Vancouver steamed for Incheon to help reenact an amphibious landing during the 1950-53 Korean War, according to the National Defense Ministry.
Roughly 20 South Korean navy ships, 10 aircraft and 3,300 service members commemorated the 73rd anniversary of Operation Chromite — a pivotal U.S.-led amphibious assault that turned the tide of the Korean War — with a reenactment ceremony on Friday.
Starting Sept. 15, 1950, U.S. Marines and U.S. and South Korean soldiers battled their way into the port city of Incheon and another 18 miles east to the capital. Eighteen days later, they liberated Seoul from the North Koreans and lifted their hold on the peninsula.
Three Canadian destroyers took part in Operation Chromite as part of a naval blockade and to provide logistical support for vanguard forces, according to the Canadian Department of National Defense’s website.
Around 600 U.N. Command troops were killed and 2,750 were wounded in the operation. About 14,000 North Korean troops were killed and 7,000 were taken prisoner.