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    ROK, US Marines sync artillery techniques during KMEP 14-7

    ROK, US Marines sync artillery techniques during KMEP 14-7

    Photo By Cpl. Thor Larson | Marines fire an M777A2 lightweight 155 mm howitzers June 15 at Warrior Base, Munsan,...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Thor Larson 

    III Marine Expeditionary Force   

    WARRIOR BASE, MUNSAN, Republic of Korea – The hot sun beats down on Marines as they stand ready beside their weapon, anxiously waiting for a fire mission that will create a dust cloud which can block out the sun.

    Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines trained together June 12-15 at Warrior Base, Munson, South Korea, as part of Korean Marine Exchange Program 14-7. KMEP 14-7 is one iteration in a series of continuous, combined training exercises designed to enhance the ROK-U.S. alliance, promote stability on the Korean Peninsula, and strengthen ROK-U.S. military capabilities and interoperability.

    “The goal is to conduct bilateral training between us and the ROK Marines,” said Lance Cpl. Marcos L. Sanchez, a field artillery cannoneer, with Battery K, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “We get to see how they operate with their weapons and they get to see how we operate.”

    The U.S. Marines contributed five M777A2 lightweight 155 mm howitzers to the exercise, and the ROK Marines brought six K55 155 mm self-propelled howitzers, so both groups could learn about each other’s artillery tactics, techniques and procedures with the weapon systems.

    When the Marines train together, they bond and learn different ways to overcome the language barrier, so they can work together as best as possible, according to Sgt. Michael D. Gutierrez, a field artillery cannoneer with the battery.

    “In the Korean Marine Exchange Program, we integrate the ROK Marines into our fire missions,” said Gutierrez, a Detroit, Michigan, native. “Training with the ROK Marines shows that we have a commitment to them (and their country).”

    The ROK and U.S. Marines trained and lived side by side for one week, and shared everything from sleep spaces to food, according to Sanchez, a Brentwood, California, native. Both groups gave classes on how to operate each other’s weapons systems effectively.

    “It’s good for us to be able to see how they conduct their live-fire operations, so we can work together more efficiently,” said Sanchez. “It’s important for us to be able to train alongside them in joint continuous fire.”

    The training and exchange between the two country’s Marines builds strong friendships between the ROK and U.S. Marines.

    “(These things) build a great bond between the ROK and U.S. Marines,” said 1st Sgt. Christopher R. Taylor, the first sergeant with Headquarters Battery, 12 Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. “I saw laughing, handshaking and both sides learning and teaching each other how to speak in their language.”

    KMEP 14-7 is the seventh exercise this year in which the U.S. and ROK Marines trained side by side. These routine exchange programs further strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and ROK Marines.

    “Our ultimate goal is for us to be able to come to Korea and work ourselves into their battle plan as seamlessly as possible,” said Taylor. “We want to learn the ins-and-outs of our ROK brothers, so we can work with them as best as possible in the future.”



    Date Taken: 06.15.2014
    Date Posted: 06.30.2014 04:12
    Story ID: 134839
    Location: MUNSON, 29, KR
    Hometown: BRENTWOOD, CA, US
    Hometown: DETROIT, MI, US
    Hometown: OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, US

    Web Views: 4,424
    Downloads: 2