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ROK, US Marines rehearse squad tactics in Korea

US Marine Corps News

By Pfc. Anne K. Henry, Marine Corps Bases Japan

NIGHTMARE RANGE, Republic of Korea -- Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines conducted a fire-and-maneuver exercise July 23 at Nightmare Range, Republic of Korea, during Korean Marine Exchange Program 12-7.

The exercise allowed both ROK and U.S. Marines to rehearse squad-level tactics and fire the MK19 40 mm grenade launcher and M2 .50-caliber Browning machine gun.

“We’re sending seven squads through a live-fire maneuver with the ROK Marines,” said Sgt. Matthew R. Whitfield, a field wireman with 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

“The objective is to give the Marines the best training possible and also remain safe in the process.

“I want my Marines to build a good relationship with the ROK military,” said Whitfield. “It is an excellent opportunity for us to learn something from them and for them to learn something from us.”

During the exercise, the ROK and U.S. Marines patrolled to the maneuver range, conducted fire-and-maneuver exercises, and patrolled through a mock chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear scenario.

“The Marines received excellent training,” said Sgt. Harold Van, an embark specialist with the regiment. “For many of them, this is their first field operation and it’s not often they receive this level of training and work together with the ROK Marines. We are able to see how they operate in the field and learn from them by training side by side.”

The overall goal of KMEP 12-7 is to enhance the combined capabilities of both forces.

“I think this exercise provides us with an excellent opportunity to build a relationship with the U.S. Marine Corps,” said Master Sgt. Lee Chong Sop, a medic with 8th Battalion, 2nd ROK Marine Division. “My goal for my Marines is for them to learn from the experience of the U.S. Marines and also to enhance (their) relationship with them.”

KMEP 12-7, which continues until Aug. 14, is a regularly scheduled, combined training exercise, which enhances the readiness and interoperability of both ROK and U.S. Marine Corps forces.

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