USS Reagan in South Korea for annual exercise
BUSAN, South Korea — The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan pulled into port in Busan on Thursday in preparation for the upcoming Reception Staging Onward Movement and Integration/Foal Eagle exercises.
“We’re looking forward to Foal Eagle,” said Capt. Terry Kraft, the Reagan’s commanding officer. “It’s an opportunity for us to work with our [South Korean] navy counterparts.”
Kraft declined to discuss specifics of the exercises, which begin Sunday and last through April 1, but said his crew would participate in a variety of missions that would exercise the ship’s full range of capabilities.
Those capabilities were partially explained by Carrier Strike Group 7 Commander Rear Adm. Charles Martoglio during a media tour Wednesday.
“By operating from international sea and airspace, naval forces are flexible and can get to places quickly,” Martoglio said.
“And once we get there we can conduct a wide variety of missions.”
Tactical action officer Lt. Marvin Park said the ship’s air component, consisting of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, F/A-18 Hornets, E-2C Hawkeyes, EA-6B Prowlers, C-2A Greyhounds and SH-60 Seahawk Helicopters, would provide much of the air power in the Foal Eagle exercise.
Commander, Naval Forces Korea spokeswoman Lt. j.g Jessica Gandy later said the Reagan’s role this year would be similar to that of the USS Abraham Lincoln during last year’s Foal Eagle.
According to a Navy news release from last year, the USS Abraham Lincoln supported theater security and promoted cooperation and engagement with the South Korean military.
Commissioned July 12, 2003, the USS Ronald Reagan is the newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy. Based in San Diego, it is powered by two nuclear reactors, is manned by more than 5,000 sailors and carries more than 70 combat aircraft.
The Reagan will remain in Busan through Sunday, allowing many of its sailors to enjoy the local culture over the weekend.
According to Kraft, more than 200 sailors from the ship will spend the weekend engaging in community relations projects.
RSOI is a regularly scheduled, annual joint/combined command-post exercise used by Combined Forces Command, South Korea and U.S. forces commanders to train and evaluate their capability to receive forces from bases outside the country.
Foal Eagle is a theaterwide joint/combined field training exercise focused on rear area security and stability operations, onward movement of equipment and select training events.