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25th ID Soldiers train with ROK Army in South Korea

April 16, 2012

By Sgt. 1st Class Joel F. Gibson, Eighth Army Public Affairs

RODRIGUEZ LIVE FIRE COMPLEX, South Korea - Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, from Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, participated in a combined live-fire training exercise with Republic of Korea Soldiers from the 11th Infantry Division here April 13 as part of Exercise Foal Eagle 2012.

The live fire event, consisting of three combined teams of ROK K-1 main battle tanks and U.S. Stryker Mobile Gun System vehicles, was an opportunity for armor Soldiers of nations to work with each other from the planning phase of an operation through execution, said Capt. Todd Stanford, Anti-Armor Company Commander, B Company, 52nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

Stanford said, "We had three different teams made up of two MGS and two K-1 ROK Tanks for each team there was a different platoon leader from each country."

The teams took turns engaging targets at short and long range using their anti-personnel weapons and main guns.

U.S. and ROK Army leaders watching their units conduct the training from the control tower, both stressed the importance of learning from each other throughout the exercise.

"We have a lot that we can learn about the nature of the fight in Korea, given the terrain, a lot that we can learn about the capabilities of the systems we will be fighting alongside," said Lt. Col. Timothy Hayden, commander of 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment.

"It meant a lot to train with high-tech weapons systems of the U.S. Army and our ROK Army tanks in the same environment during this live fire exercise," said ROK Army Sgt. Maj. Lee Gyu-choul, an armor noncommissioned officer in Korea's 11th Infantry Division.

While differences in speech, uniforms and equipment were obvious, the similarities between members of both militaries were apparent.

"The [Korean Augmentation to the United States Army]s we've had working with us have been extremely helpful in overcoming communication barriers," said Stanford, "Because we're all the same type of Soldiers, armor Soldiers, we speak the same kind of lingo, just in different languages."

"They operate just like us, they use the same techniques, the same tactics," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Tua, a platoon sergeant from 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, working with one of the combined teams.

Both the Tropic Lightning Soldiers, coming from an installation without large training areas available to them at their home station and the ROK Army Soldiers, said they were impressed with the range complex here.

Hayden said, "The training complexes here in Korea are absolutely spectacular."

"Rodriguez Range is much bigger and it has many targets, compared to the ROK Army tank range," said ROK Army 1st Lt. Park Geum-pil, an armor officer with the ROK Army 11th Infantry Division. "So, at first, I was amazed by its size and the number of targets, but finding the targets and shooting them was not easy."

Foal Eagle maintains the readiness of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command to deter or defeat aggression against South Korea and to maintain stability in Northeast Asia.

Occurring around the same time every year, this year Foal Eagle runs from March 1 - April 30. The field training exercise is defensive in nature.

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