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III MEF Feature Stories
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U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen James W. Bierman, commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, center-left, and Republic of Korea Marine Corps Commandant Lt. Gen. Kim Kye-Hwan, center-right, stand with their combined staff at the ROK Marine Corps Headquarters, Baran, Republic of Korea, March 9, 2023. The two Marine Corps leaders met to discuss the expansion of combined-joint training on the Korean peninsula and promote mutual commitment between the two forces. The ROK-U.S. alliance is vital to the collective defense and security of the Korean Peninsula and the region, and the lynchpin of U.S. joint force posture in Northeast Asia. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Andrews)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Tyler Andrews

Senior U.S. and ROK Marine Corps generals meet in Republic of Korea

13 Mar 2023 | Story by Capt. Joshua Hays III Marine Expeditionary Force

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP MUJUK, Republic of Korea – Marine Corps leaders from the Republic of Korea and United States met here, ahead of an annual theater-level exercise.

Republic of Korea Marine Corps Commandant Lt. Gen. Kim Kye-Hwan, met with U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General James W. Bierman, Jr., commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, to discuss expanding combined-joint training on the Korean peninsula and promote mutual commitment between the two forces.

During the visit, Kye-Hwan and Bierman reaffirmed their shared commitment to the Alliance and their collective role in maintaining regional peace and stability.

“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the ROK-US alliance. I assure, without a doubt, that Exercises Freedom Shield and Ssang Yong 23 will serve as an opportunity to demonstrate that the ROK-US Marine Corps stands at the peak of the ROK-US alliance,” said Kye-Hwan. “I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to Lt. Gen. Bierman for his undivided attention and support, as well as the U.S. Marines for their dedication and effort for maintaining peace on the Korean peninsula.”

The visit underscores the strength and unity of the ROK and U.S. Marine Corps. The professional bond between these two organizations is exemplified by the Combined Marine Component Command, Combined Forces Command’s Marine warfighting component. Within the CFC, Lt. Gen. Bierman serves as the Commander, CMCC, and Lt. Gen. Kim serves as the Deputy Commander. The combined Marine Corps team was formed in 1953, following the U.S.-South Korea Treaty of Mutual Defense.

“The ROK-US Marine Corps relationship is the standard of lethality, interoperability, and mutual respect in the Indo-Pacific region.  Our Marines and Sailors integrate seamlessly into major exercises because they train and operate together throughout the year,” said Bierman. “The ROK Marine Corps, like III MEF, is a warfighting organization that holds itself to the highest standards.”

Persistent training between the two forces is important to the security of the region. Approximately 10,000 Marines travel to Korea, participating in numerous bilateral training events each year to enhance combat readiness. These annual events range from subject matter expert exchanges to large-scale command and control exercises such as Exercises Freedom Shield.

The CMCC will participate in Exercise Freedom Shield in March. Freedom Shield is a defense-oriented exercise designed to strengthen the security and stability on the Korean peninsula and across Northeast Asia.