Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group Begins Exercise Ssang Yong
2016 in the Republic of Korea Story Number
Bonhomme Richard ESG Begins Exercise Ssang Yong 2016 in the Republic of Korea
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James
Vazquez, Commander Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs.
East Sea — (NNS)
— March 11, 2016 — U.S. Sailors and Marines of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7 and 3rd Marine
Expeditionary Brigade (3D MEB), commenced exercise Ssang Yong 16 in the Republic
of Korea (ROK) March 9.
Ssang Yong, which means "Twin Dragons," is biennial combined exercise
conducted by Navy and Marine Corps forces with the ROK to strengthen
interoperability and working relationships across the range of military
operations from disaster relief to complex, expeditionary operations.
U.S. and Korean ships sail as part of Ssang Yong
This year, U.S. Marines and Sailors are participating in exercise Ssang Yong
16 with the 7th ROK Marine Corps Regimental Landing Team 7 (ROKMC RLT-7),
Australian Army, and Royal New Zealand Army forces.
"Ssang Yong offers the U.S. and ROK the opportunity to test their ability to
operate together as an integrated combined naval force," said Rear Adm. John
Nowell, commander, ESG 7. "Its significance in assuring interoperability between
the U.S. and ROK forces is inestimable."
Seaman mans the
starboard lookout watch
During Ssang Yong, approximately 9,200 U.S. Marines and 3,100 U.S. Navy
personnel will work alongside 4,500 ROK Marine Corps, 3,000 ROK Navy, 100
Australian Army, and 60 Royal New Zealand Army forces.
"The sheer number of personnel involved is extremely impressive," said Capt.
Ed Thompson, Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11. "There are a lot of moving parts
and things that need to align for a successful exercise. When they do, it is
truly amazing to see how we operate together."
An MH-60S Sea Hawk sits on the flight
deck during flight operations
During Ssang Yong, U.S. and ROK combined forces will conduct beach landings,
flight operations, and personnel exchange and cross platform exercises which
ensure that various components of ROK and U.S. Naval and Marine forces are able
to respond to contingencies on the peninsula and across the Asia-Pacific region.
"We look forward to an efficient and successful exercise with one of our
closest and oldest allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said Nowell.
From disaster relief to complex
The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group (BHRESG) with embarked
Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU)
consists of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), and amphibious
dock landing ships USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Germantown (LSD 42), and
Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67).
Marines perform flight operations in a UH-1Y Venom
Joining the BHRESG is the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (BOXARG), which
consists of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), amphibious transport dock
ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18), amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry
(LSD 49), PHIBRON 1, and 13th MEU 4th Marines, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 1st
Tank Battalion and I MEF Crisis Response Force Company. All units fall under 3rd
MEB during the exercise.
Commander, Flotilla (COMFLOT) 5 consisting of amphibious assault ship ROKS
Dokdo (LPH-6111), amphibious landing ship class ROKS Cheon Wang Bong (LST 686),
Chungmugong Yi Sun-sin-class destroyer ROKS Munmu the Great (DDH 976) is among
the ROK assets participating in the exercise.
For more news from Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit