‘Twin Dragons’ massive joint military exercise begins
CAMP MUJUK, Republic of Korea -- A multilateral combined arms and amphibious exercise known as Ssang Yong 2014 officially started at Pohang, Republic of Korea March 27.
More than 13,000 military personnel to include U.S. Marines and sailors along with ROK Marine Corps and Navy, and Australian Army forces are participating in the large-scale exercise along the Korean peninsula.
“Marines, along with our Navy counterparts and ROK partners – are all building a narrative for generations to come,” said U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy, commanding general of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We are showing the American people and our allies and enemies all over the world that we have not missed a beat.”
Ssang Yong, which in Korean means ‘twin dragons,’ is an annual employment of Marine and Navy Forces with the ROK to help strengthen working relationships through a range of military operations — from disaster relief, to complex expeditionary operations.
“Ssang Yong 2014 is a foundation for future success and demonstrates the Navy and Marine Corps team’s ability to conduct amphibious, joint operations,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Hugh D. Wetherald, commander of Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet. “Forward deployed naval forces and forward based Marine forces are working with our allies to have the ability to provide rapid deployment for a full range of military operations and contingencies in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Ultimately, exercises such as this help contribute to the security and stability in the region as well as the entire Asia-Pacific.
“We rarely do unilateral operations anymore,” said Kennedy. “We’ve been partners with the Koreans for 60 years and this exercise is going to showcase the fact that the U.S. Marines and ROK Marines are blood brothers and we’re going to practice and train together just in case we ever get called out in harm’s way.”
Ssang Yong will enhance the interoperability between the U.S. Marine air-ground task force and the ROK Marine task force while honing amphibious capabilities of each nation’s Navy and Marine Corps.
More than 20 U.S. Navy and ROK ships are supporting the amphibious landing to include the 13th and 31st Marine Expeditionary Units. The MEB headquarters will composite multiple Marine air-ground task forces arriving in theatre via amphibious shipping, along with a ROK regimental landing team, into an amphibious Combined Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
This exercise promises to demonstrate how the Navy and Marine Corps amphibious team is completely equipped and organized to carry out national objectives in cooperation with U.S. international partners.
“After 10 years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan… there may be people out there that say that returning to our amphibious roots will be too hard and assume it will take us a generation of Marines to re-learn how to do this. I say we will do it in the blink of an eye,” said Kennedy. “We are going to prove to the world that the United States Marine Corps has not forgotten how to fight off these decks.”