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U.S., ROK train side by side in simulated exercise

Jan 26, 2010

By Pvt. Paul Holston

CASEY GARRISON South Korea -- 'Manchus' from 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, trained alongside with some very special guests at the Close Combat Tactical Trainer facility on USAG-Casey.

An armor and infantry platoon from the 75th Republic of Korea Brigade joined the 'Manchus' Jan. 21 as part of 'Iron Focus', a brigade level exercise. During this particular exercise held at CCTT, Soldiers from 2-9th Inf. taught ROK soldiers how to operate vehicles and weapon systems through virtual demonstrations in the facility.

Leaders as well as the 75th ROK Brigade Commander, Col. Eun Sang Jung, came to CCTT to observe the training between the 'Manchus' and ROK soldiers, as well as learn how American Soldiers use the facility for their own benefit.

"This is actually the first time we have incorporated the ROK army and American Soldiers together in this facility," said William Scafe, a technical trainer professional who works at CCTT. "By allowing them to get a good perspective on how Soldiers train before going out and doing the real thing, they were able to get familiar with the technology this facility has to offer and practice with our simulators with guidance from American Soldiers."

"The ROK Army leadership was very interested in observing how we train in a virtual circumstance before going out to conduct live training," said Lt. Col. Milford H. Beagle Jr., 2-9th Inf. battalion commander. "Their Soldiers received familiarization training today and learned how we move and communicate in a virtual world."

This exercised tested the Soldiers of 2-9th Inf. as the language barrier between them and ROK soldiers was the challenge when teaching them how to operate the simulators.

With the assistance of Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army Soldiers, this obstacle was overcome as ROK soldiers began to understand and demonstrated how they were able to operate the simulation systems.

"Being able to train with the American Soldiers in this virtual reality facility was interesting and exciting," said 2nd Lt. Han Byul Kim, a ROK platoon leader. "We've never experienced training with simulations like this before, as our Army doesn't have these types of simulation systems. It gives us a better understanding of how the U.S. Army implements their training."

Pvt. Brandon Henderson from A Co., 2-9th Inf. describes how he feels being able to teach ROK soldiers the basics of operating a simulated Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

"It makes me feel good to help, especially these ROK soldiers," Henderson said. "I believe they are intelligent soldiers and by working together with them, will make both our Armies stronger."

Beagle describes how this was a good experience for his Soldiers training with the ROK.

"This was a good chance to figure out the smaller things that I don't think have been experimented with for quite some time when it comes to working with our ROK counterparts," Beagle said.

"This is great training for my Soldiers; it is not an easy operation. It should also give the ROK Army leadership something to think about as we continue to improve our integration together."

"All in all, this was another example of how the strength of the ROK-U.S. alliance is able to continue working together," Beagle said.

"This was a tremendous opportunity for them, being able to train at our facilities and completing the same missions that we do, just makes for a better training condition, training environment, and a better team. It's going to set the stage for greater training opportunities down the road."

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