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Marines' Training Shows U.S. Strength
By Jeremy Kirk
Stars and Stripes
Pacific Edition

March 25, 2004,

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea U.S. Marines, in their highest numbers in South Korea since 1994, are training closer to the Demilitarized Zone than ever before.

"We are here to sharpen our skills so that our enemy to the north will some day realize he has no chance of winning on the battlefield and he will stop oppressing the North Korean people, come to the peace table and allow Korea to be united peacefully," said Col. J.J. Patterson, commander of the 3rd Marine Regiment, in a news release.

Through this month, U.S. and South Korean Marines are participating in the Korean Integrated Training Program. It includes standard weapons live-fire, fire support team training, live-fire maneuver training and helicopter operations, Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Geltmacher, 3rd Marine Regiment weapons officer, said in a news release.

The South Korean Marines are from 2nd Battalion, 7th ROK Marine Regiment from the 7th Marine Division, said Marine Capt. Chris Perrine, public affairs officer. Also participating in exercises near two ranges near the DMZ, Perrine said, are about 800 U.S. Marines from Hawaii, Okinawa and Iwakuni, Japan. "From all accounts, what I can tell, it's been great training," Perrine said.

A total of 5,500 Marines are here for the Foal Eagle and the Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration exercise, Perrine said, undertaking four exercises at one time. Four tanks a reserve platoon from 4th tank battalion, 4th Marine Division and a battery of 155 mm artillery pieces accompanied the Marines to the northern ranges, he said.

The 3rd Marine Regiment personnel are using a new communications system that mounts on a Humvee. The Secure Mobile Anti-jam Reliable Tactical Terminal, known as SMART-T, allows secure voice and data communications at mission sites, according to a Marine news release.

Introduced in the unit about six months ago, the SMART-T is much more transportable than its predecessor, thanks to the Humvee mount. The Humvee can move either under its own power or by helicopter sling load, rail head, by ship or transport vehicles.

"Before SMART-T, we were fairly tied down with our communications equipment, as it was extremely bulky and not readily mobile," said Lance Cpl. Michael Sheen, SMART-T operator. "The SMART-T allows us to pick up and go in much less time."

Lt. Gen. Wallace C. Gregson, commander of Marine Forces Pacific, visited the Marines as they were doing combined armed exercises at Nightmare Range near the DMZ. "This year we have the most Marines on this peninsula since 1994, and that's with a good amount of our Marines deployed to the Gulf and Afghanistan," he said. Gregson was quoted in a news release as saying that learning to work with another country's military is not easy, but "this will prove useful to the Marines should a conflict arise in this region."

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This article is provided courtesy of Stars & Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

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Copyright 2004 Stars & Stripes. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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