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Landing Force to bilaterally train with ROK Marines

US Marine Corps News

6/26/2010 By Lance Cpl. Colby W. Brown, Landing Force Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training

CAMP MUJUK, Pohang, Republic of Korea — After two months of conducting bilateral exercises in four Southeast Asian countries, the Landing Force that participated in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2010 debarked from ship and landed in Korea, June 25. More than 250 Marines are here to bilaterally train with the Republic of Korea Marine Corps and will spend approximately one month in country.

The Landing Force has transitioned from the CARAT exercise to the Korean Integration Training Program. The Landing Force is the fourth unit to participate in the program this year. Their mission while in Korea is to conduct a bilateral exercise with ROK Marines, strengthen relationships and enhance cohesiveness and cooperation between the two militaries.

“The amount of history here is outstanding,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Troken, operations officer, Command Element, Landing Force, native of Chicago. “The ROK Marines look at us like brothers because we fought a war here together and the ROK Marines respect us because of that – there’s just a lot of history. We’re here for almost a month and a half and we’re kind of getting immersed into a different society and we get to strengthen relationships and work with the ROK Marines. I’m extremely excited to be here.”

Training scheduled includes bilateral infantry exercises, mountain warfare training and bilateral explosive ordnance disposal/combat engineer exercises. The training is planned to begin in early July and is slated to be conducted at three different training sites in the Pohang region of Korea.

“I’m excited to start training,” said Lance Cpl. Brenden Fitzgerald, SAW gunner, 2nd Fire Team, 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, Company A, KITP10-4, native of Grand Blanc, Mich. “There is supposed to be a couple good live fire shoots and simulation rounds for an urban shoot house and I am excited to train with the ROK Marines, I have heard a lot about them. I’m excited to see what they’re all about and see how efficient they are at they’re job – I’m looking forward to see if the stories are true.”

The unit has been conducting bilateral exercises since early May with multiple countries in Southeast Asia. This will be the culminating exercise of this units activation, being mainly a reservist unit, and is an opportunity for the Marines to apply the skills of working with foreign forces they have built throughout their participation in CARAT 2010.

“It’s something different and we get to do mountain warfare training and get out of the jungle,” Troken said. “We sharpened our skills working with foreign forces and now we get to come here and use the skills we built as we work with the ROK Marines.”

Being in Korea is also an opportunity for the Marines to experience a different culture and learn how a different society lives day to day. It is an opportunity for the Marines to experience something many people don’t have the chance to.

“I’m excited to be here, it’s another new experience and I get to travel the world,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m young and as a junior Marine it’s fun to get to travel the world.”

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