CAMP CASEY, South Korea (Aug. 28, 2015) — Improved combat capabilities and greater operational understanding in the joint environment are two of the most important outcomes of combined training among Republic of Korea, or ROK, and U.S. Soldiers.
As a result, Soldiers, from Company B, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, conducted a combined live-fire exercise, with ROK Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, 1st Company, 123rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 73rd Regiment, 26th Infantry Division, Republic of Korea Army at Chipori Range near Cheorwon, South Korea, Aug. 1-8.
“We are doing a combined live-fire exercise to increase confidence between us and the ROK army and work on our security procedures,” said Capt. Robert Vadney, commander, Company B, 1st Battalion, 38th FA Regiment, 210th FA Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
With the battalion’s Multiple Launch Rocket Systems simulating an exposed position during fire missions, the ROK infantry platoon was called in to provide critical security and protect the weapon systems from ground-based attacks, Vadney said.
As training proceeded through the week-long exercise, communication between ROK and U.S. armies became more and more essential. And despite their language differences, both units learned how to effectively communicate and maneuver with one another in a combined tactical environment.
“The cultural barrier was one of the hardest to overcome, but we are working through that,” Vadney said. “We know so much more than we did before. It has been extremely valuable training for us to get some time to work with the people who secure us in the time of war.”
The initial hurdles were also shared by Vadney’s counterpart, who went on to express the importance of building shared understanding and continuing combined training to maximize efficiency.
“There were some communication errors such as radio problems and differences in how we conduct training exercises,” said Capt. Hyun Namgoong, commander of 1st Company 123rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 73rd Regiment, 26th Infantry Division, ROK army. “However, I believe reducing these differences through mediation and consultation is one of the most important factors in conducting this combined live-fire exercise.”
In addition to fostering better communication with the ROK army, the battalion also gained confidence in standard operating procedures with Korean security forces.
“We make ready to fight and win through increased proficiency in combined operations and greater understanding between us and our ROK counterparts,” Vadney said.