Suwon Air Base -- Soldiers with the 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment "Iron Horse" got back to basics while also getting a unique perspective of the history and current situation on the Korean peninsula, Jan. 6 - 15 at Warrior Base, South Korea.

Not only did the Air Defenders practice and qualify with their various weapons systems, they also had the opportunity to visit the Demilitarized Zone, including the Third Tunnel of Aggression, which is a mere seven minute drive from where they were training.

"This was a great tour of the DMZ," said Sgt. Rafael Roca, a fire control crew member with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6-52 ADA. "I found it interesting that the tunnel was made by North Koreans and [is] so close to Warrior Base."

The tour included a visit to Dora Observation Post, with its clear view into North Korea and a stop at the Joint Security Area, where Soldiers witnessed firsthand the North and South Korean guards who stand face to face every day at one of the most fortified national borders on Earth.

"I can really understand the reason for our mission here," Roca said.

Training for the mission is what a rotation to Warrior Base is all about, including operating in a chemically contaminated environment.

The Air Defenders honed their various warrior skills while wearing their chemical protective suits and masks and even endured a training event commonly known as the "gas chamber."

During the exercise, a small room was filled with tear gas and the Soldiers removed their masks, endured a slight amount of the irritant, and then put their masks back on in order to breathe freely again.

"The training allowed Soldiers to trust their chemical equipment," said 2nd Lt. James Choi, a chemical officer with 6-52 ADA.

Rounding out the training regime were classes on techniques to counter improvised explosive devices, an ever present threat on the modern battlefield.