Marines prepare for exercise KMEP 13-8 with bang
RODRIGUEZ LIVE-FIRE COMPLEX, Republic of Korea — Artillerymen with 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, fired preparation rounds at the Rodriguez Live-Fire Complex Aug. 16 prior to conducting bilateral training with Republic of Korea Marines during Korean Marine Exchange Program 13-8.
KMEP 13-8, a regularly scheduled combined training exercise that enhances the combat readiness and interoperability between the ROK and U.S. Marine Corps forces, is just one in a series of continuous combined training exercises designed to promote stability on the Korean Peninsula, enhance the alliance between the two nations, and strengthen ROK-U.S. military capabilities.
The artillerymen fired 155 mm high-explosive rounds using M777A2 155 mm lightweight howitzers. The preparation fire is a necessary safety and function check that takes place before any training commences.
The U.S. artillerymen began firing alongside ROK Marines Aug. 17, while exchanging standard operating procedures and comparing capabilities.
“This exercise is going to be a great opportunity for us to learn things we couldn’t learn at our home base in Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.,” said Staff Sgt. David R. Morgan, an artillerymen and battery gunnery sergeant for India Battery, 3rd Bn., 11th Marines, currently assigned to 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program. “Dealing with different terrain, climate and language is going to provide a great challenge for our Marines.”
Even though the exercise will present new challenges, the Marines with the battery know that being able to work together with their Korean counterparts is a crucial part of the Marine Corps’ role in the Asia-Pacific region.
“It starts with us on the ground,” said Cpl. Alan M. Swan, an artilleryman and section chief with the battery. “This bilateral training is not only going to benefit us, but both nations’ Marine Corps as a whole. It is going to be great training, particularly for our battery because it will help us be more prepared for future field operations and interactions with different cultures.”
Throughout the exercise, ROK and U.S. Marines are conducting live-fire training, helicopter exercises, military operations in urban terrain training, as well as cultural exchanges and tours.
“All of our preparations have gone extremely well,” said 1st Lt. Cipriano Rivera, the executive officer of India Battery. “I have complete confidence and trust in the Marines of India Battery to accomplish their mission as artillerymen and uphold the standards of Marines when interacting with our ROK allies.”
KMEP 13-8, which is schedule to conclude Aug. 29, is carried out in the spirit of the ROKU. S. Mutual Defense Treaty signed between the U.S. and ROK on Oct. 1, 1953. The exercise underlines the enduring alliance and friendship between the two nations and their combined commitment to the defense of the ROK and peace and security in the region.