News: US, ROK naval engineers join forces
Story by Sgt. Candace Mundt
POHANG, South Korea - U.S. and Republic of Korea sailors worked together for two weeks in April in support of a Combined Joint Logistics Over the Shore exercise near Pohang, South Korea.
During their time together, they planned and constructed a living support area on a ROK Marine base and a lighterage control center at Dogu Beach.
Lighterage control centers are used to communicate and direct traffic coming onto the shore, said Navy Lt. Ronald Ngogang, a contingency engineer and planning officer for U.S. Command Naval Forces – Korea.
“One of our functions is to help the ROK engineers build a naval mobile construction battalion,” Ngogang said.
U.S. sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 based in Port Hueneme, Calif., deployed to train with ROK sailors in preparation for national defense.
“The ultimate goal is to be able to defend the peninsula. If you don’t train together, then when you have to go fight a war, it’s hard to do,” Ngogang said.
“You don’t really understand your counterpart,” he said about working with the ROK sailors. “There are several ways to do things and not everybody does it the way we do in America. We train together to understand each other, making sure that we are ready.”
One of the U.S. sailors training with the South Korean sailors described how impressed he was with their work ethic.
“They are hardworking people,” said Seaman John P. Tandog, a construction worker in NMCB5. “If their senior leading person says that something needs to be done, they get it done quick and they put forth effort.”
Tandog also expressed how much he enjoyed socializing with the South Korean sailors.
“They are fun to talk to,” he said. “My favorite part was when we were working at the beach, because you can actually see the camaraderie and us all working together and joking around.”
After two weeks, Tandog said he feels ready to conduct real-world operations with ROK naval engineers.
“I would feel comfortable working with them because I know that they wouldn’t let me down,” he said.
Ngogang stated that he enjoyed watching his sailors grow closer to their South Korean partners.
“That’s the point of being combined - two military entities coming together, working, and getting the job done,” Ngogang said. “It’s beautiful because at the end of the day, that’s how we’re going to fight.”