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UFL 2003 strengthens ROK/U.S. alliance

Army News Service

Release Date: 8/19/2003

By Cpl. Kang Byung-sam

YONGSAN ARMY GARRISON, South Korea (Army News Service, Aug. 19) -- Across the country, military and civilian personnel from the Republic of Korea and the United States are joining together in Ulchi Focus Lens 2003, a large-scale training exercise for defending the peninsula.

"Working together ensures cohesion ... (for) future operations," said Chief Warrant Officer Rickey McIntyre, supply adviser for the 8th U.S. Army. "ROK soldiers are dedicated, much like American soldiers, so working with them will be a great opportunity."

For Korean military units, the training provides chance to practice their wartime mission with U.S. forces.

"This is my third training (at Camp Oscar) and every time I come here, I realize (the U.S. military) trains very realistically," said Lt. Col. Cho, Geug-lae, security assistant officer, G4 (Logistics), ROK Army Headquarters, who currently works with his U.S. counterparts. "This exercise assumes the emergency situation, and the U.S. forces are here for it, which I appreciate."

Cho said the U.S. side's approach to the exercise was impressive.

"They have a serious attitude toward the exercise and we can learn a lot from them," he said.

Maj. Tae, Sung-sik, foreign procurement plans officer, ROK Army Logistics Command, said as both sides' command systems improve, annual training is essential. "By this large-scale exercise, we can try in a concrete way what we will actually do in a practical mission."

Around the peninsula, the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division conducted training around the peninsula prior to UFL 2003.

The cavalry scouts of Troop B, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, carried out a mock wartime mission at the KTC Aug. 9.

"The importance of this type of training can't be measured," said Maj. William Nuckols, plans and operations officer for 4th Sqdrn., 7th Cav. "With probably 40 to 50 percent of this troop out here being new, this is the first time that they've ever worked on real terrain with defiles and the ridges and then the openings where the enemy forces will put their defensive positions, known as kill sacks."

For Sgt. David Lewis, a B Troop Bradley vehicle commander, the exercise provided a valuable experience for his Bradley crew, which did not take an enemy hit during the wartime scenario.

"This is the closest that they can come to actually going to war," said Lewis. "Therefore, they'll be successful in their battles."

The AH-64D Apache attack helicopters of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment fired 80 Hellfire anti-tank missiles at an island off the coast of Kunsan, South Korea, Aug. 10. The live-fire exercise was the first over water firing for the battalion since 1997, said Maj. Gen. John R. Wood, 2nd Infantry Division commanding general.

"Putting steel into a target is what we do," said Lt. Col. Chandler Sherrel, commander of 1st Bn., 2nd Avn. Regt. "This is a battalion, that if called upon, can fight tonight and carry out our wartime mission."

Going to the range at Kunsangave gave his battalion the opportunity to shoot the Hellfire, the Apache's primary weapon system, Sherrel said.

The infantrymen of 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, also known as "The Manchus," assaulted targets at Korea Training Center ranges at Bradley gunnery and infantry tactics training Aug. 11.

The battalion conducts Bradley gunnery twice a year, but their operations tempo is always high, said Staff Sgt. Bradley Freeman, a Bradley commander and Range safety officer in the battalion's Company A. "We train constantly. We're aggressive, well-disciplined and well-trained."

The infantry tactics training is based heavily on foreseeable situations, said 2nd Lt. Scott Polasek, a platoon leader in Co. A.

"There's a distinct possibility that, if we do go to war, we'll be doing this," Polasek said. "There are a lot of trenches -- if we run into them, they'll be fortified."

(Editor's note: Cpl. Kang,is Korean Augment to U.S. Army and journalist assigned to the Eighth U.S. Army Public Affairs Office at Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul. Sgt. Jon Cupp, Spc. Ian Boudrea and Pfc. Robbie McCarty all contributed to this report and are journalists with the 2nd Infantry Division Public Affairs Office at Camp Red Cloud.)

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