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
"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
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."
Sound Off...What do you think?
Join the discussion.
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
Stars & Stripes Website
Copyright 2004 Stars & Stripes. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.