POHANG, SOUTH KOREA --
U.S. Marines with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, exchanged air defense tactics and procedures with Republic of Korea Marines from 1st Marine Division, ROK Marine Corps, as part of the Korean Marine Exchange Program on ROK Marine Base Pohang, South Korea, from Aug. 16 to Aug. 18, 2023.
The three-day event consisted of classroom training on air defense tactics and air defense system employment, as well as simulator training with ROK and U.S. lightweight, portable air defense systems.
“We came out and got together with our Korean counterparts,” said 1st Lt. Hannah Reed, platoon commander of 4th Platoon, Alpha Battery, 2d LAAD. “[We] talked about what our employment principles are with all of the equipment we have, and they did the same for us.”
Over the course of the event, U.S. Marines gave presentations on their ground-based air defense capabilities, including the Marine-Air Defense Integrated System family of systems and reviewed their techniques, tactics, and procedures, to include employment guidelines and firing doctrine.
“We showed them some of our FIM-92 Stinger trainers,” said Reed. “Then, they did the same for us with their Korean Portable Surface-to-Air Missile.”
“KMEP is the unification of U.S. Marines and Korean Marines that allows us to fortify our relationship, ability to train together, and reaction to foreign threats,” ROK Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Sung Woo Hong, an M163 Vulcan Air Defense System gunner.
“Getting to see how the U.S. reacts to threats and the weapons they utilize was very useful and interesting to see. It helps us work on our systems and better our defense.”
As a part of this exchange, Marines from both nations also participated in team-building physical training. “I went to school in the United States, so this exercise really made me feel like I was back there with my friends again,” said Hong. “My favorite part was just getting to meet and hang out with the U.S. Marines, especially when we got to play basketball and soccer.”
KMEP is a routine, bilateral exercise series focusing on bolstering ROK and U.S. Marine Corps’ interoperability as a unified, regional littoral force. This exchange facilitated information and strategy sharing, and familiarization with various weapons and technologies between the allied nations. Events such as this help strengthen the ROK-U.S. Marine Corps Alliance, which is unique and critical in maintaining security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.