News: ROK, U.S. Marines celebrate successful training
TONGHYEON-RI, Republic of Korea - Marines hosted a warrior’s ceremony July 26 in Tonghyeon-ri, Republic of Korea during the Korean Marine Exchange Program 12-7.
The ceremony allowed Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines a chance to celebrate the successful training that they have conducted thus far.
“This exercise helped the regiment develop even more into the family that it is, we now have more esprit-de-corps then we ever did.” said 1st Sgt. James Willeford, the battery first sergeant for Headquarters Battery, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “The Marines were very happy being in the field. All of the functions we did are not normally things headquarters battery normally gets to do. The whole exercise was extremely beneficial.”
During the exercise, the ROK and U.S. Marines have enhanced their combined capabilities and built lasting relationships. Everything from the set-up of the camp to the squad-level tactics gave the Marines a learning experience.
“The Marines were able to come here, where there is nothing, and build up a small city.” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael Harris, a communications chief with the regiment. “They were also able to get to know the ROK Marines and understand their training.”
KMEP 12-7 was not only a success for the U.S. Marines but for the ROK Marine Corps as well. It showed them the kind of training U.S. Marines are capable of and gave them an excellent learning experience.
“Our goal is to protect our people and to learn from the U.S. Marines who have had different experiences then us.” said Sgt. Maj. Kim Jae-wook, the Sgt. Maj. for 8th Artillery Battalion, 2nd ROK Marine Division. “I was very impressed to see the U.S. Marines through my own eyes. We will apply what we have learned here at KMEP when we return to garrison.”
The overarching goal of KMEP 12-7, which is scheduled to continue until Aug. 14, is to enhance and improve the tactical interoperability of both the ROK and U.S. Marine Corps forces.