U.S., ROK Army conduct joint river crossing in South Korea
February 6, 2009
CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- Soldiers of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry, conducted a joint river crossing through the Yang river on Feb. 5 with the Republic of Korea Army's 38th Armor Battalion, crossing icy waters with depths up to 6 feet.
The ROK Army's K1 A1 Main Battle Tanks, the M 113 Armored Personnel Carriers and 2-9's M1 A1 Abrams Tanks forged the river together with each providing security for the other. The exercise was successful due to the good communication and great teamwork between the two nation's armor companies.
"One of the complications in this exercise was the language barrier," said 2nd Lt. Robert White, the 2nd Platoon leader for C Co., 2-9. "We utilized our KATUSA's (Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army) to help with the issue, and some of the ROK officers spoke English, which helped."
"The main thing in any operations is good communication. Keeping that up with different allies is key to our success," he added.
The two sides worked closely together so that the complex procedure moved forward without any complications.
"The first step of the joint operation was for the Korean Army to cross and take the far side of the river," said White. "The K1 then successfully completed the underwater crossing. Our support mission was set up before hand, so once we got the word we went downstream toward the bridge for the main objective. With all the elements in place, we took the bridge."
Much of the professional teamwork and success came from recognition of the similarities between the two militaries.
"We have similar techniques and the same doctrine," said Sgt. Brandon Thom, a tanker for C Co., 2-9. "We're still doing the same mission of covering each other."
The Soldiers of 2-9 understood and appreciated the close partnership the two units shared in the days leading up to the event.
"I'm new to Korea, and it was nice to have the opportunity to work with the ROK army," said Pfc. Richard Mallon, a tanker for C Co., 2-9. "We stayed in their barracks, spent time with them, and saw their day-to-day life. For me, it was a great experience to perform this training with the ROK Army."
The U.S. and the ROK Armies have a long and vital relationship together, one that has survived because of years of cooperation.
"The main thing for us was being able to work with allied countries in a joint operation," said White. "During the Korean War, the U.S. had constant interaction with the Korean military. It just goes to show that we can adapt and work together. I wish we could do this type of training more often."