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U.S. and South Korean ships and personnel combined forces to create a combined amphibious task force this week as part of the Foal Eagle training exercise, according to a Navy news release.

Sasebo Naval Base’s Essex Expeditionary Strike Group — including the USS Essex, USS Juneau, USS Tortuga and the USS Cowpens — rendezvoused with South Korean amphibious forces and destroyers for a sea transit and defense drills.

The embarked U.S. Amphibious Squadron 11 and South Korean Amphibious Squadron 53 shifted warfare commander responsibilities to the South Korean Corvette Squadron 32 for the exercise.

The shift was crucial, according to the release.

“In order to shift command and control over to [the Korean ships], everyone needed to be on the same page,” Lt. j.g. Bradford C. Tonder, Foal Eagle assistant action officer, stated in the release. “Everyone performed well to achieve this.”

All communication was in English, but the Korean accent challenged watchstanders “to be attentive in taking the reports from the ship,” according to the release.

South Korean and U.S. Marines, some from Okinawa, spent the transit time planning an upcoming amphibious beach landing exercise.

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