News: Marines observe ROK live-fire drill
Story by Cpl. Kentavist Brackin
OKINAWA, Japan - The staff of 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, visited Republic of Korea Marines to observe a fire-support coordination exercise here May 3.
“The purpose of this particular drill was to try to shift our efforts to the defense of this island, the location of where a lot of tension is located, while demonstrating our ability to defend the ROK territorial ground and waters to the North Korean forces,” said Lt. Col. Bong Su Seo, the commanding officer of the 9th Artillery Battalion, ROK Marines.
The exercise, while not a part of the Korean Incremental Training Program 2011-2, allows U.S. and ROK Marines to continue to work together to strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance, according to Lt. Col. Ricardo Miagany, commanding officer of 3rd Bn., 12th Marines.
“It’s an opportunity, not just for training, but to show America’s commitment to the Republic of Korea and an opportunity to strengthen the alliance,” said Lt. Col. Innes Quiroz, chief of current operations for U.S. Forces-Korea and Combined Forces Command.
Miagany and his staff visited several sites around the island the day prior to the drill to ask about the types of communications and weapons systems that would be used during the drill.
“This was a great way for the members of my battalion to expand on the knowledge we obtained while working with ROK Marines during KITP,” said Miagany.
During the training, members of Miagany’s staff were located where they could individually observe and offer their knowledge to their ROK counterparts.
The drill itself consisted of several rounds of artillery fire by ROK K-9 self-propelled Howitzers, followed by 81 mm mortar fire and coastal defense weapons systems fire into neutral waters off-shore.
“We greatly appreciate the participation of U.S. forces, the strongest in the world,” said Seo. “Their experience in the field and warfare [will] allow us to reflect on our own.”