One of the many milestones achieved during the Multinational Mine Warfare Exercise (MIWEX 19) off the coast of the Republic of Korea (ROK) was the integration of Australian Navy Task Group Command Staff onboard a ROK Navy warship.
A core team of personnel from the Royal Australian Navy’s Minehunter Task Group have been embarked in the ROK Ship Nampo to work closely with the mine-hunting units operating at sea during MIWEX 19.
The 2019 iteration of the exercise sees participants and observers from across the United Nations come together to conduct mine warfare serials in the waters off the south coast of the Republic of Korea.
Lieutenant Commander Daniel Lister contributed to the ‘white cell’, the group that controls the exercise onboard the ROKS Nampo.
For the participating RAN personnel embarked on Nampo, this was an exciting opportunity.
LCDR Lister explained, "This is a unique operating environment and presents challenges for combined staff and tactical units alike. Along with my staff of task group planners, our focus is on injecting relevant information at key points throughout the exercise."
LCDR Lister was joined onboard Nampo by Warrant Officer Combat Systems Manager Mine Warfare Alan Hart, who assisted the planning and execution for the combined staff group for the exercise.
WO Hart engaged with his multinational partners, sharing ideas and discussing tactics to enhance interoperability in the exercise scenarios. The pair led a particularly valuable information sharing session during the exercise, demonstrating RAN mine warfare planning processes and supporting systems.
"It is not just sharing information but the mutual benefits we can achieve learning from each other," WO Hart explained.
Rounding out the team and performing the invaluable role of interpreter was Royal Australian Air Force Flying Officer Wook-Jin Jo.
Born in the Republic of Korea, FLGOFF Jo’s language skills were a crucial enabler to the task group, facilitating detailed military discussions and contributing greatly to the success of the exercise.
"This is a fantastic experience and I am fortunate to be able to support the Navy during the exercise," FLGOFF Jo said.
The Task Group Command, joined by minehunters, HMA Ships Diamantina and Gascoyne, are taking part in the Multinational Mine Countermeasure Symposium and MIWEX 19 in Korea as part of a three-month North East Asia Deployment.