Aug 26, 2013 --
RODRIGUEZ LIVE-FIRE COMPLEX, South Korea - The two countries’ service members stood completely still at attention as they waited to be awarded. On this day, they did not stand representing different nations with different backgrounds, but as fellow Marines.
Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines concluded Korean Marine Exchange Program 13-8 during an awards ceremony honoring the participants at a military establishment near the Rodriguez Live-Fire Complex Aug. 26.
KMEP 13-8 is a regularly scheduled, combined training exercise that enhances the combat readiness and interoperability of ROK and U.S. Marine forces. The exercise is just one in a series of continuous combined-training exercises designed to enhance the alliance, promote stability on the Korean Peninsula, and strengthen ROK-U.S. military capabilities.
During the ceremony, Lt. Col. Guk Heom Park, the commander of 5th Battalion, 2nd ROK Regiment, 2nd ROK Division, and Lt. Col. Jason Brown, the commander of 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, presented awards to those who stood-out during the bilateral exercise.
“More important than the artillery skills we shared with each other were the lasting bonds that we built during this exercise,” said Brown. “As Marines, we are always trying to better ourselves with anything that we do. By working together throughout this exercise, I’m confident that if we are ever in a situation fighting side-by-side, we will prevail.”
Each battalion commander took turns presenting awards to the other country’s Marines, showing the significance of the lasting relationships built between the two nations.
“I want to give special thanks and appreciation to all of those who participated and took from this exercise as much as they gave,” said Park. “While everything we did throughout the exercise was important, today is of the most importance as we recognize those who put forward their best effort during the exercise.”
Throughout the exercise, ROK and U.S. Marines completed live-fire training, helicopter operations, cultural exchanges and tours throughout the countryside.
While the majority of the U.S. Marines and sailors were with 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, currently assigned to 3rd Bn., 12th Marines, under the unit deployment program, a select few from various units within III MEF also supported the exercise.
“This was a great opportunity for me and my guys to not only work alongside an artillery unit, but also with another country’s military,” said Cpl. Cody J. Sailor, a landing support specialist with Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III MEF. “While our mission out here was brief, it was definitely an experience my Marines and I won’t soon forget.”
KMEP 13-8 is carried out in the spirit of the ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty signed between the U.S. and ROK on Oct. 1, 1953. The exercise underlines the enduring alliance and friendship between the two nations and their combined commitment to the defense of the ROK and peace and security in the region.
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