The booming sound of rockets launching and spent casings hitting the ground marked the culmination of the last livefire range during Korean Marine Exchange
Republic of Korea Marines with 32nd Battalion watched as U.S. Marines with Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, demonstrated combined-arms maneuvers at Camp Mujuk, Republic of Korea, Oct. 22-26.
2nd Bn., 3rd Marines is participating in KMEP 13-1 from Oct. 15 to Nov. 14 to improve Republic of Korea and U.S. Marine forces’ interoperability. The battalion is currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“The end state of this training was to demonstrate our combined-arms capabilities to our South Korean allies,” said 1st Sgt. William J. Banks, the first sergeant for the company. “We incorporated the ROK Marines from the very beginning of the week.”
Throughout the course of the week, the U.S. and ROK Marines shared their knowledge and taught each other about their respective weapons.
“The first day of the week, we were at a small-arms range,” said Banks. “This gave us an opportunity to learn about their K1 and K2 rifles and their course of fire. We also demonstrated to the ROK Marines our rifles, the weapons safety rules, conditions and our course of fire. During firing that day, we collectively fired approximately 10,000 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition.”
The company also demonstrated other, more advanced weaponry.
“We gave the ROK Marines the opportunity to learn about the MK19 40 mm grenade launcher, the .50-caliber Browning heavy machine gun, the M240B medium machine gun and the (tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided) missile system,” said Banks. “The ROK Marines had the opportunity to get into the turrets and fire the weapons with the exception of the missile system. They also demonstrated the capabilities of their anti-tank missile system and compared it to our system.”
The U.S. and ROK Marines stressed safety throughout the event by ensuring everyone received proper training and briefs before entering the turrets and firing the weapons.
“We discussed with the ROK Marines the functions of our weapons and how to shoot them safely,” said Pfc. Marco J. Watson, a automatic rifleman with the company. “They can use that knowledge to enhance their own training and operating procedures.”
The event ended with a demonstration of tactics to combat a heavy vehicle.
“On the final day, we familiarized them with how we operate taking down a large target,” said Banks. “We had two Humvees act as decoys while Marines fired a Humveemounted TOW missile to take advantage of the surprise and destroy the vehicle.”
The ROK and U.S. Marines used the training not only to learn about weapons but also to understand one another at the unit level.
“Training with the ROK Marines is fun,” said Watson. “They teach us and we teach them, we both become better at what we do, and we are all stronger because of exercises like this.”