ROK soldiers, US Marines strap in for Mountain Warfare Training Course
POHANG, Republic of Korea -- Republic of Korea soldiers and U.S. Marines executed mountain warfare training June 9-10 as part of a Mountain Warfare Training Course at the 1st ROK Marine Division Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pohang, Republic of Korea.
The ROK soldiers who went through the training are with the ROK Army, Military Police Company, 2nd Operational Command, and the U.S. Marines involved are with 3rd and 4th Law Enforcement Battalions. The U.S. Marines are in South Korea to take part in Korean Marine Exchange Program 14-8.
ROK Marines instructed the two-day course, teaching the ROK soldiers and U.S. Marines different methods on how to rappel down rocky surfaces, cross rope bridges and fast rope.
The training built confidence and provided an exciting experience, according to U.S. Marine Sgt. Michael J. Bramley III, a military policeman with 3rd LE Bn., III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF.
“Going face first down that rope was definitely my favorite part of the training,” said Bramley III. “That was a pretty big adrenaline rush.”
KMEP familiarizes U.S. Marines with the Korean Peninsula and builds upon an existing strong relationship between ROK and U.S. Marines.
“The (Koreans) are a very proud people, they are very humble, and they are excited about the opportunity to share their culture and their training with us,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Jay M. Woods, a military police officer and company commander for Company B, 3rd LE Bn., III MHG, III MEF. “Today we sat together and had Meals, Ready-to-Eat for lunch and then they shared with us some of their food. That’s diplomacy. That is where wars are won and lost is with that connection between the two that are working together.”
The training was highlighted by the Australian rappel method that the ROK soldiers and U.S. Marines were taught, where one rappels face first toward the ground, essentially running down a wall, according to U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas C. Carey, a military policeman with 3rd LE Bn., III MHG, III MEF.
“The Aussie rappel was much different than the way we were taught at boot camp,” said Carey. “It was very entertaining and is something I would have never gotten to do if I wasn’t here training with the ROK’s.”
KMEP is a series of continuous combined training exercises designed to enhance the ROK-U.S. alliance, promote stability on the Korean Peninsula and strengthen ROK-U.S. military capabilities and interoperability.
“The ROK-U.S. alliance is very important if there were ever a wartime in this region,” said ROK Army 1st Lt. Pyeong-Kwan Lim, a military police officer with Military Police Company, 2nd Operational Command. “Exercises like this help to facilitate that alliance and promotes stability in the region. I am very honored to have the opportunity to get training with the U.S. Marines.”
The training for KMEP 14-8 can be best described as integrated training, according to Woods.
“Many times in the Marine Corps we speak about bilateral training,” said Woods. “I like to think of it more as integrated training. Our Marines and the (Koreans) are spending time with each other, we are eating lunch together, we’re training together, and he (1st Lt. Lim) and I went off the rappel tower together. That’s integrated training, and doing more of that in the future will make us both better when we have to do it for real.”