U.S. and South Korean troops train as single force during live fire exercises in South Korea 51708162

Defence & Security News - South Korea, USA
 
U.S. and South Korean troops train as single force during live fire exercises in South Korea
Soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division on a rotational tour in Korea got a welcome chance to join their South Korean army counterparts earlier this month to practice the combat methods both forces would use to support the other in wartime.
     
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Republic of Korea Army Soldiers operating a K30 Biho 'Flying Tiger,' a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, provides anti-aircraft coverage Aug 3 at Nightmare Range, near Pocheon, South Korea. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Dennis)
     
The troops worked side-by-side in mounting a series of air-and-ground assaults on a mock objective. The training ran July 30 through Aug. 4 at Nightmare Range, a South Korean training range near Pocheon.

The U.S. troops were from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, part of the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. The brigade, based at Fort Hood, Texas, is on a nine-month rotational tour with the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division.

Their counterparts were from the South Korean army's 137th Mechanized Battalion, 16th Mechanized Brigade, 8th Infantry Division. It included South Korean mechanized infantry, aviation, engineer and mortar elements. The South Korean battalion's commander, Lt. Col. Kim Seung-kon, led the training.

"This is the first time that a U.S. Army company from the Combined Division was led by a Republic of Korea army unit," said Capt. Steven W. Northrop, Company B's commanding officer.

In the main training event, the troops practiced a series of maneuvers that paired a South Korean company with a U.S. platoon of M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The aim was to work together through the full range of steps involved in carrying out an attack using ground troops supported by aircraft.
     
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Smoke rings launched by a South Korean army K200 Infantry Fighting Vehicle burst over a training ground where earlier this month South Korean and U.S. troops practiced working as a single force to assault an objective with ground troops supported by aircraft. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Christopher Dennis)
     
South Korean troops maneuvered their armored vehicles across the battlefield, called in live 81 mm and 4.2 inch mortar support, fired other weapons, called in a South Korean Cobra helicopter that fired live ammunition, launched smoke grenades to hinder the enemy's view, and set down a bridge across a mock anti-tank ditch, allowing the American Bradleys to roll across toward the objective.

Soldiers of both forces welcomed the chance to train together and better understand the other's battlefield capabilities.

The troops also got to tell their counterparts about how they evacuate wounded from the battlefield, and numerous other combat methods, Northrop said.

The U.S. Soldiers were struck by how well the two forces could operate together, despite differences in equipment.

"Our interoperability, as we discovered from being here, is better than we first anticipated," said Capt. Gary Bostic, 2nd Battalion's assistant operations officer. "We are capable of towing their vehicles, using their bullets and sustaining ourselves at a greater capacity than we first thought."

In all, said Northrop, the six days were of "tremendous value" to his Soldiers, who are aware that a common slogan of the U.S. military in Korea is "Ready to Fight Tonight," sometimes shortened to "Fight Tonight."
 

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