Combined simulation exercise strengthens ROK-U.S. Alliance
August 2, 2013
CAMP CASEY, South Korea (Aug. 2, 2013) -- While rain drops steadily beat against the roof of a tactical operations center, inside voices echo "counterfire!" Soon, the sound of a rocket launch erupts from a computer. These are the sounds of a simulated U.S. and Republic of Korea Army exercise.
The 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and the Third Republic of Korea Army, or TROKA, conducted a Combined Counterfire Exercise on Camp Casey, July 17-19.
The simulation-based exercise was to enhance the ROK-U.S. counterfire capability, improve staff coordination and test battle command computer systems.
"Overall, it's to exercise the counterfire fight, but more importantly it's to exercise our systems and their systems," said Maj. Donald Dangler, the 210th Fires Bde. simulations officer, and a native of Morristown, N.J. "That goes from using our equipment properly, sharing data, command and control relationships between our subordinate battalions, our brigade headquarters and TROKA."
For Spc. Gregory Hornishny, from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, a human resources specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Fires Bde., it was a chance to learn a whole new way to fight.
"This is the first time I've been with an artillery unit," said Hornishny. "I've been learning from all of the Soldiers."
According to Maj. Jeremy Linney, the 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Fires Bde. operations officer, the exercise was about pulling out every training opportunity. The Memphis, Tenn., native explained that despite normal hiccups the unit builds flexibility and gains experienced operators to enhance their overall capabilities.
"We are not getting wrapped around the axle when things go wrong," said Linney. "It replicates the fog of war. The focus is on cross-training."
The exercise was also an opportunity to build new relationships.
Capt. Lee Wright, a native of Hoover, Ala., and the 210th Fires Bde. liaison officer to TROKA, spent the exercise at TROKA headquarters in Yongin, South Korea. His section worked face-to-face with their ROK army counterparts coordinating fires between the U.S. and ROK army units.
The exercise was important to Wright because he was able to introduce his replacement to TROKA and share valuable knowledge with him about how to effectively work together.
"In the simplest form, all we're trying to do is to bring people together, form good relationships and make it to where we have a fully-functioning relationship," said Wright.
The combined counterfire exercise was the first brigade-level training event since the majority of the brigade's senior positions transitioned to new leaders. The exercise provided continuity to carry the Alliance into the future, according to Dangler.
The simulated exercise tested the new leaders without having a large logistical impact on their units. With increasing constraints such as training areas, budgets, and weather, simulation and constructive virtual training is becoming a bigger and bigger tool to train units, Dangler continued.
"It gives confidence when you take a step back and the exercise ends," said Dangler. "That we could do something like this with our ROK partners and get something out of it and nail down our systems."
The counterfire exercise is another example of 210th Fires Bde. training with its ROK partners to strengthen the Alliance and ensure it is ready to "Fight Tonight" and deter any threats toward the Republic of Korea.