News: Blood Brotherhood Command Post Exercise showcases combined success
Story by Lance Cpl. Cedric Haller
POHANG, Republic of Korea - Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines concluded the command post exercise portion of the Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise 2014, at the 1st ROK Marine Corps Division Base in Pohang, Republic of Korea, March 22.
The MEFEX 14 CPX strengthened ROK and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability and advanced ROK and U.S. Marine Corps combined command and control capabilities in expeditionary combined forcible entry amphibious operations.
“The goal for this exercise was to build a combined team of ROK and U.S. Marines and we were very successful,” said U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We learned from this exercise that we work together extremely well. However, there is always room for improvement and we won’t rest until we are the best Combined Marine Component Command that we can be.”
The CPX brought together the combined staffs of the U.S. Marines’ III MEF, based in Okinawa, Japan, and the ROK Marine Headquarters, based in Baran, to refine skills needed to respond rapidly to crises ranging from complex amphibious operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Additionally, 3rd Marine Division headquarters, under the command of Maj. Gen. Stacy Clardy and the 1st ROK Marine Division, under the command of Maj. Gen. Woo Hyun Hwang, integrated into a combined ground combat element headquarters. ROK and U.S. staff members worked side by side, communicating through translators and problem solving in order to rapidly provide information to commanders.
“This is the first time we have conducted this large scale CPX, which served greatly to 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,” said ROK Marine Lt. Gen. Lee Young Ju, commandant of the ROK Marine Corps. “The ROK- U.S. Marine Corps team serves as a good role model for all ROK forces.”
“This CPX, held over the course of a week in rapidly deployable expeditionary shelters, brought many ROK and US Marines together for the first time, and enabled shared learning on both sides as we worked together to respond,” said U.S. Marine Maj. John R. Boutin, systems control director for the exercise. “We put to the test our shared coalition networks, strategies and systems and moved forward together with unified command and control throughout the Korean area.”
The exercise is a tribute to the maturity of the ROK and U.S. relationship and showcases the ROK-U.S. combined ability to operate across a range of military operations, bringing security and stability to the region.
“What we’ve learned is that together we are a much more capable team together then we are apart, and our partnership, that blood brotherhood that Lt. Gen. Lee’s forces and our forces share together, makes us both better,” said Wissler. “This exercise has proved that we can respond, fight and win as a combined Marine force.”
“Mujuk Haebyeong, Katchi Kapshida! Invincible Marines, we go together!” continued Wissler and Lee together.
MEFEX 14 is an umbrella exercise encompassing the complete range of potential U.S. Marine Corps activity on the Korean Peninsula, including the Korean Marine Exchange Program integrated training, Freedom Banner 2014 maritime prepositioning force ship offload exercise and the SSang Yong 2014 combined Marine Expeditionary Brigade operations exercise.