By Staff Sgt. Carlos Davis (2d ID)October 10, 2013
As civilian campers pack up their camping gear and return home for the fall, Soldiers from 210th Fires Brigade load up their multiple launch rocket systems and leave Camp Casey, South Korea to set up base camp.
Soldiers from 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division conducted live-fire qualification exercises Sept. 25 to 27 at Rocket Valley in Cheolweon.
"It is a privilege to be able to come out here for a chance to fire and train with our Republic of Korea counterparts," said Capt. Landel Jenkins, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., A Battery commander. "It's not every day we have an opportunity to come out here and do this."
Conducting realistic training is an opportunity for the ROK and U.S. Alliance partners to test equipment, develop crew cohesion and built confidence in their skills to successfully fight and win.
"We are building camaraderie," said 2nd Lt. Jillian Mueller, the executive officer for A Battery, a native of Lakefield, Minn. "The training allows us to continue to build our Alliance as we gain trust with one another."
This is the command team's first combined live-fire exercise and they understand the importance of being able to train in realistic conditions that will better prepare their unit for combat.
"It is very important we work with our Korean Allies because if something was to happen for us to go to war; we will fight alongside them," said Mueller. "This allows us to see how they work, as well as to show them how we operate."
Even before the unit fired rounds down range, overcoming challenges was their main objective.
"One of the problems we have out here is the communication barrier," said Jenkins. "But we do have Korean Augmentation to the United States Army Soldiers, who work with our Soldiers on a regular basis to translate messages."
KATUSAs have been integrated within the ranks of the U.S. Army since the 1950s by an informal agreement between the South Korean President Rhee Syng-man and U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
KATUSAs aren't the only asset to help overcome the language barrier; 2nd Lt. Dong-hwa Lee, of Tamuning, Guam, the liaison officer for 6th Bn., 37 FA Regt., can speak both languages.
"Being able to speak both Korean and English helps to expedite the mission process of sharing our commander's intent and being able to fire safely," said Lee. "It makes it easier, because I do not have to go through someone else to receive information, and it ensures information isn't being lost in translation."
The 6th Bn., 37th FA Regt. conducts two live-fire qualifications a year as they continuously to build a strong alliance to defend the Korean Peninsula.