CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa --
Marines and sailors with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, deployed Jan. 14 to Pyeongchang Training Area near Camp Mujuk located in Pohang, Republic of Korea, to participate in Korean Marine Exchange Program 14-2.
KMEP is a regularly scheduled combined training exercise that increases the combat readiness and interoperability between the Republic of Korea and U.S. Marine Corps forces, and is designed to promote stability on the Korean Peninsula, enhance the alliance between the two nations, and strengthen ROK-U.S. military capabilities.
Company F is currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program, and will remain in Korea until mid-spring.
“It’s going to be good training to get them out of their comfort zone,” said 1st Sgt. Jody G. Armentrout, the first sergeant for the company. “They’ll have to interact with a different culture and adjust to how the ROK Marines work.”
Throughout KMEP 14-2, the company will conduct field-training exercises designed to enhance small-unit tactics in the field with 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, ROK Marine Corps.
The ROK Marines with 2nd Recon Bn. will instruct the U.S. Marines on how to integrate skiing as an efficient method of travel in a tactical environment, and conduct basic combat-skiing techniques.
The transition from operating primarily in a desert environment to training in the snows of Korea will serve as both a challenge and a benefit for the U.S. Marines and the completion of their mission in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Capt. Redmond B. Gautier IV, an infantry officer with the battalion.
The two allies will also exchange knowledge concerning winter survival skills, as well as execute professional military education concerning each service’s equipment and history.
“The company did mountain training nearly a year ago, but getting back to it with colder temperatures and the added element of snow, will be a change,” said Capt. Thomas W. Morrow, the commanding officer of Company F. “We’ll be directly partnered with the ROK Marines. So we’re going to live, eat and train with them every hour of the day.”
The culminating training event is scheduled to be a four-day patrolling exercise where U.S. Marines will employ their tactics against ROK Marines.
“I want us to become proficient in our cold weather mountain operations,” said Morrow. “By partnering with a foreign unit, and effectively training and communicating with them, (we) will help our Marines understand that it’s not always just a U.S. Marine Corps operation. We partner with a lot of allied nations to build a stronger team.”