USS George Washington
Leads Joint Maneuvers With S. Korea
June 25, 2012
In a show of force that South
Korea's military says is meant as a warning to North Korea, a U.S. naval
carrier strike group is conducting maritime maneuvers with South Korea
off the coast of the tense peninsula.
The USS George Washington is leading its carrier strike group, part of a
flotilla of 10 warships and submarines, off the west coast of the Korean
peninsula. Also participating in this three-day exercise, which ends
Monday, are hundreds of combat aircraft. In all, 8,000 military
personnel of the United States and South Korea are involved.
Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and
embarked Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17) departs Naval Station
Norfolk, as part of U.S. Southern Command's (SOUTHCOM) U.S. Navy photo
by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Lolita M. Lewis (RELEASED)
The tailhook of an incoming U.S. Navy F-18 fighter jet is grabbed by an
arresting wire on the flight deck of the George Washington in
international waters, about 200 kilometers south of the disputed
maritime border between the two Koreas.
For hours at a time planes are landing and being catapulted off the
A F-18 fighter jet landing on the USS George Washington in the Yellow
South Korea's military is characterizing this and other current
exercises as containing a potent message to North Korea. To paraphrase
that message: Pyongyang, this is what you will face if you dare to carry
out another act of aggression.
Both North Korean and Chinese officials have expressed concern about a
U.S. aircraft carrier returning to these waters, warning that the joint
naval exercise threatens the region's peace and stability.
But the commanding officer of the USS George Washington, Captain David
Lausman, says the presence of his carrier's strike group here is a
routine opportunity to improve coordination with South Korea's navy.
“The only point of this exercise right now for the U.S. and Republic of
Korea: we are working together," he said. "The invitation is to do this
with every country that we meet in international waters.”
And, Lausman says, that invitation includes China.
such a show of force underway by the U.S. and South Korean navies -
including destroyers, frigates, fighter jets, early warning aircraft and
submarines - Pyongyang and China have limited their responses to
While U.S. Navy officers are keeping silent on the scenario for this
unnamed exercise, their South Korean counterparts indicate it simulates
searching for and destroying North Korean submarines and tracking a
long-range missile launch from the North.
Such a launch was conducted on April 13. What Pyongyang described as a
peaceful attempt to place a observation satellite into orbit was widely
seen as a test of ballistic missile technology meant to give it the
capability of delivering a nuclear warhead across the Pacific. The
rocket broke up minutes after launch and its parts fell into waters
close to where these naval maneuvers are now being held.