Dec 2, 2013 -- OKINAWA, Japan - Republic of Korea Marines visited Marine Corps installations on Okinawa Nov. 18 – 21 to prepare for future bilateral training between the two services and to learn more about the U.S. Marines’ aviation combat element.
The ACE was of particular interest to the ROK Marines as they prepare for the scheduled stand up of a ROK Marine Corps ACE in 2017.
The visiting ROK Marines included Col. Chang Hee Yoon, the commander of the ROK Marine Corps’ Amphibious Support Group, and three of his staff.
“During their visit, the ROK Marines visited Combat Logistics Regiment 35, CLR-37, 9th Engineer Support Battalion and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36,” said Maj. Christopher E. Rabassi, the exercise planner with G-3, operations and training, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. 9th ESB and CLRs-35 and 37 are with 3rd MLG, and MALS-36 is with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF.
The ROK Marines learned about the U.S. Marine’s aircraft capabilities and aviation logistics during the visit to help them develop their own aviation capabilities.
“There are a lot of logistics that are required for the aircraft wing to operate,” said Maj. Tate A. Buntz, an aircraft maintenance officer with MALS-36. “We showed them all of the different sections of aviation logistics, from supply and regular maintenance, to the aircraft being broken down for unexpected maintenance, which they will need to know about while developing their force.”
While learning about the logistical side of aviation, the ROK Marines were briefed by the commanding officer of MALS-36 and representatives from the maintenance, aviation supply and avionics, and ordinance departments.
An increased mutual understanding of each others’ capabilities also helps each service maximize the benefits of bilateral training and increases interoperability.
“The ROK and U.S. Marine Corps plan for future training exercises at different times,” said Rabassi. “To be able to schedule or work out details for future training, we had to meet up and discuss each other’s capabilities."
“We are looking at some of our big (annual) exercises, like Ssang Yong, and thinking about increasing and elaborating (them) with more (combined) training during the exercises,” added Rabassi.
The visit strengthened a time-tested relationship and allowed the two services to continue to build upon their operational capabilities and interoperability.
“I learned a lot of good information that will help while developing our (aircraft wing),” said Yoon. “I did not realize how much went into maintaining readiness of the aircraft wing. This information will be useful as we start to design the logistical side of the (aircraft wing) for its stand up in 2017. I also can’t wait for future training between the ROK and U.S. Marines.”