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NEWS | Feb. 6, 2015

ROK, US Interoperability Improves with Counter-fire Exercise

By Cpl. Gun Woo Song

On a fateful Sunday in June 1950, the Northern invasion of the Korean peninsula broke out and signaled the tragic warfare that lasted for three years. Although cornered by the enemy at first, brave Soldiers from different countries fought side-by-side to defend Korea’s freedom from communist rule.

Today, the battle-tested alliance between the Republic of Korea and the U.S. remains steadfast as they continue their mutual efforts of deterrence and defense.

Last week, Soldiers from the 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, took part in the unit’s combined counter-fire exercise Jan. 27-29 at Camp Casey to test the brigade’s effectiveness in operating with their Korean counterparts during counter-fire situations.

The three-day exercise was conducted through coordination with the Third Republic of Korea army, which requires a high level of interoperability, said Maj. Jeremy Linney, the brigade’s operations officer.

“The purpose of the TROKA CCX is to ensure that both ROK and U.S. counter-fire forces can interact and interoperate with our digital systems and with our doctrine,” said Linney, a native of Ticonderoga, New York.

He also mentioned how training with their ROK counterparts is crucial to defending the Korean peninsula and to reaching a higher level of mission capability.

“Both sides have strengths and weaknesses,” said Linney. “While we certainly don’t have as many forces as they do, we bring some capabilities and technologies that TROKA is able to employ in a combined operation.”

“So what it does, is allows us to practice those things, should we need to go to war, as well as gaining a proficiency that serves as a deterrent to North Korea,” he said.

To emphasize how critical these exercises are to joint readiness, Gen. Kim Hyun-jip, commander of TROKA, and Gen. Park Seon-woo, commander of the Ground Component Command, made separate visits to the brigade’s operation center to better understand the unit’s specific force capabilities in the event of a counter-fire scenario.

Among those involved with the exercise were several ROK Soldiers, including 2nd Lt. Lee Him-chan. Lee, a native of Seoul, South Korea, who worked in the operation center alongside members of the 210th FA Brigade to ensure the flow of communication between both the ROK and U.S. Army was integrated seamlessly.

“As a Soldier taking part in the mission, I believe that the exercise helps both ROK and U.S. Army understand how each other operate,” said 2nd Lt. Lee Him-chan, a liaison officer assigned to the 331st Observation Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Corps, Third Republic of Korea Army. “This leads to higher interoperability and, ultimately, fulfilling what we are here for - defending the Republic of Korea.”

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