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US, ROK Marines begin artillery training

US Marine Corps News

7/27/2012 By Pfc. Anne K. Henry, Marine Corps Bases Japan

TONGHYEON-RI, Republic of Korea — Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines conducted a bilateral artillery live-fire July 18 in Tonghyeon-ri, Republic of Korea, during the Korean Marine Exchange Program 12-7.

The ROK Marines shot 50 artillery rounds from the K-55 self-propelled gun and then allowed the U.S. Marines to fire the remaining rounds.

“It has been a good experience so far,” said Lance Cpl. John Palomino, a forward-observer with 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “It has been great to get a better understanding of how things operate in the field and to work with the ROK Marines.”

The goal of KMEP 12-7 is to enhance and improve combined capabilities of both the ROK and U.S. Marine Corps forces.

“I think this exercise is a great thing,” said Lance Cpl. See Heun Woo, a translator with 8th Artillery Battalion, 2nd ROK Marine Division. “The U.S. Marines and the ROK military are learning from each other during this exercise. We get an opportunity that doesn’t come around that often. We get to interact with U.S. Marines by sharing our cultures and finding a common ground.”

Bilateral training improves the interoperability of military forces. It provides service members with knowledge and experience from another culture that operates differently than their own.

“Today was an excellent opportunity for the Marines,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. David Lee, a fire direction controller and interpreter with 12th Marines. “The Marines get to learn the culture and receive training. It’s not every day that they would receive this opportunity.”

The exercise is scheduled to continue until Aug. 14 and will include weapons training at small-arms and machine-gun ranges, combined-arms training and regimental command and control training.

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