Jungle patrol tests ROK, US Marine tactics
1st REPUBLIC OF KOREA MARINE DIVISON BASE, POHANG, Republic of Korea -- Shifting into an offensive position, U.S. Marines paused with their weapons at the ready in the thick foliage of South Korea.
“Contact to the rear!” a Marine shouted, as the loud popping of simulated rounds filled the air.
U.S. Marines squared off in a mock battle with Republic of Korea Marines during a patrol training event July 22 near the military operations on urbanized terrain training area at the 1st ROK Marine Division Base, Pohang, South Korea, as part of Korean Marine Exchange Program 14-12.
KMEP is a series of regularly scheduled bilateral training exercises taking place on the Korean Peninsula to enhance interoperability and increase familiarization of the area as well as weapons and safety procedures.
The patrol involved a movement to contact and transition to defense by the opposing forces comprised of U.S. Marines with Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, and ROK Marines with 7th Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 1st ROK Marine Division.
“Being able to continually train with the (ROK Marines) allows us to be familiar with their tactics, techniques and procedures as well as for them to be familiar with ours,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Ted A. Rose, a German Town, Tennessee, native and executive officer for Company B, 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, currently assigned to CAB, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program. “The training that we are doing and that other units have done in past KMEPs allows us to have a closer working relationship with the ROK Marines and in the future be more successful working hand in hand.”
While teams of U.S. Marines maneuvered through the tree covered mountains and ravines, squads of ROK Marines, acting as a defensive force, planned and executed simulated attacks, challenging both forces in different ways.
“This training allows the (ROK Marines) to set up their defensive positions and be attacked by a (different) unit. They get to see other tactics used against their defenses,” said U.S. Marine Cpl. Jonathan R. Butt, an Arkansas City, Kansas, native and squad leader with 3rd LAR Bn. “It also gives us a chance to go against a dug-in unit who are used to operating in a jungle environment and to further our training skills in different environments.”
Cross-train tactics has benefited the capabilities of both Marine forces, according to U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph K. Puskac, an automatic rifleman with 3rd LAR Bn.
“They have been very hospitable to us, and they’re very interested in learning from us as much as we are learning from them,” said Puskac, a Portage, Indiana, native. “There are learning curves for both of us but we are very privileged to be here and train with them.”