Chinhae, Republic of Korea - The U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) navies will participate in Exercise Clear Horizon, October 20-24, in waters south of the Korean peninsula.

Clear Horizon is an annual bilateral exercise between the U.S. and ROK navies designed to enhance cooperation and improve capabilities in mine countermeasure operations.

"We achieve mine countermeasure proficiency by rehearsing scenarios at sea and developing key mine warfare skill sets," said Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea. "Clear Horizon provides both navies an important opportunity to improve coordination and increase readiness in critical mine countermeasure capabilities."

Approximately 330 U.S. Navy personnel assigned to Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7, the mine countermeasure ships USS Warrior (MCM 10) and USS Chief (MCM 14); along with MH-53E helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14 (HM-14) and teams from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 5, will join ROK navy forces for the bilateral training.

During the exercise, U.S. and ROK navy ships and expeditionary units will practice clearing routes for shipping and conduct training surveys for clearing operational areas. Mine clearing helicopters will also be utilized to rehearse mine countermeasure operations from the air.

"Clear Horizon is a great training opportunity for our forward-deployed mine countermeasures assets across the entire mine warfare spectrum," said Capt. Mike Dowling, Commander, Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7. "This combined exercise is vitally important for maintaining interoperability with the ROK Navy."

The mine countermeasure training is the culmination of many months of planning between ROK and U.S. Navy exercise staffs. Leaders from both navies credit the routine bilateral engagement and close cooperation that occurs throughout the year for the successful planning and execution of exercises like Clear Horizon.

"This year's Clear Horizon exercise demonstrates the strong partnership and cooperation between the ROK and U.S. navies," said Cmdr. Kim, Boem Woo, of the Republic of Korea Fleet. "We are bringing together valuable expertise and knowledge from both navies and applying these skills in a realistic training environment."

Clear Horizon is one of approximately 20 annual bilateral training exercises held each year between the U.S. and ROK navies aimed at strengthening the alliance and preserving stability and peace around the Korean peninsula and throughout Northeast Asia.

The U.S. 7th Fleet maintains routine presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to help promote maritime security and develop partnerships with friends and allies. Forward-deployed U.S. naval presence contributes to freedom of navigation, operational readiness, and enables an exchange of culture, skills, and tactical knowledge with nations throughout the region.