By Sheila deVera
JBER Public Affairs
Two Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) ships visited the Port of Alaska as part of a training exercise Nov. 4-6.
The ROKN Cruise Training Task Group’s two vessels, a destroyer and a combat support ship, visited Alaska during a 67-day voyage, which marked the first ever trip for ROKN vessels to the state.
The annual training exercise is geared toward helping ROK naval academy 4th year midshipmen to practice ocean navigation, cultivate military knowledge, and develop adaptability skills as junior officers. Additionally, the voyage aimed to bolster cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Alaska, and to strengthen military partnerships.
“This training is significant as we sailed off the coast of the Bering Sea to be in Alaska for the first time in Korean naval history,” said Rear Admiral Kyu-Paek Park, ROKN Cruise Training Task Group commander. “The 76th class of midshipmen is the future military defense leader for Korea, and our first journey to Alaska will set the cornerstone for the stronger ROK and U.S. alliance.”
During a virtual meeting, U.S. Army Col. Jacob Peterson, Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region and Alaska Command chief of staff, spoke to the ROKN midshipmen about the importance of military presence in Alaska.
“Alaska is the strategic place and location for our forces,” Peterson said. “As environmental changes continue to impact the Arctic, human activity will increase and we must be prepared to outpace those evolving threats.”
Peterson also emphasized Alaska is the Department of Defense’s premier training area for joint and partner forces, to include the ROK.
More than 500 ROKN personnel embarked on the voyage, which will visit five strategic ports around the Pacific Ocean while providing on-the-job-training prior to becoming a naval officer.