Thursday, June 17, 1999

Navy beefs up forces in
Korean waters

By Gregg K. Kakesako


Two Aegis guided missile cruisers will be moved from Japan to the waters off Korea following a dispute three days ago between North and South Korea that resulted in the sinking of a North Korean gunboat.

The Pentagon yesterday said that Adm. Archie Clemins, Pacific Fleet commander, has sent the USS Vincennes and the USS Mobile Bay with 760 sailors from Yokuska, Japan, to the Korean peninsula.

Clemins also has repositioned EA-6B Prowler tactical electronic gathering jets from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington state to the Far East.

Preparing to leave tomorrow from San Diego is the USS Constellation aircraft carrier battle group. Its 16,000 Pacific Fleet sailors and Marines will be deploying for a previously planned six-month overseas assignment.

A Pentagon official yesterday said the battle group will be conducting training near Korea during its current deployment.

Four Pearl Harbor warships -- two Aegis guided missile cruisers and two nuclear attack submarines -- will join the Constellation battle group. The cruisers, the USS Chosin and the USS Lake Erie, and the attack submarines, the USS Santa Fe and USS Olympia, will leave Pearl Harbor Saturday.

A total of 900 Pearl Harbor sailors will be part of the six-month deployment.

Two other Pearl Harbor-based nuclear submarines --USS Kamehameha and USS Buffalo -- pulled into the South Korean port of Chinhae yesterday as part of of a routine port call.

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