SEOUL, South Korea- Soldiers of the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, based out of Fort Shafter, trained with U.S. and Republic of Korea Combined Forces air defense during the Ulchi Freedom Guardian Exercise here Aug. 18-22.
"This exercise is a great opportunity for the ROK and U.S. ADA (Air Defense Artillery) personnel to get together and enhance their mutual understanding and at the same time strengthen their combined mission capability," said Maj. Gen. Kwon Young Ho, commanding general, Air Defense Artillery Command, Republic of Korea Air Force.
According to a Combined Forces Command press release, this year's exercise was historic because it was the first time in its 34-year existence that ROK military took the lead role, while U.S. military held the supporting role. The exercise was previously known as Ulchi Focus Lens before this year's role-change.
"(UFG) is a sustainment exercise designed to keep our warfighting skills honed," said Brig. Gen. Roger F. Mathews, commanding general, 94th AAMDC.
The exercise is an annual ROK-U.S. combined exercise designed to train participants through computer simulations. Participants from the 94th AAMDC reacted, based on their job fields, to computer-simulated missile attacks during UFG.
"By incorporating computer simulation, operators learn how to read Theater Missile Defense data quickly, disseminate that data accurately, and keep records of events, just as they would in real-world situations; at the same time, staff personnel and subsequent units learn how to react to an event as well as the proper procedures to receive the information they need," said Sgt. Renea Wyen, operations noncommissioned officer, 94th AAMDC.
The primary purpose of UFG for ADA personnel is to familiarize with ROK/U.S. combined defense procedures against Air Breathing Threats and Theater Ballistic Missile attacks in the most effective manner, said Kwon.
"We specifically strengthened our combined capability during the exercise," said Mathews. "Ultimately, we want to combine all aspects of warfighting,"
"General Mathews and I maintain a really close relationship, like brothers, in conducting combined operations together," added Kwon.
The 94th AAMDC, along with the 35th ADA Brigade and 164th ADA Brigade, were the only Army ADA personnel to participate in the exercise.
"The 94th can only get better with each training event. Most importantly, our personnel are afforded in-depth training that can only be achieved in a real-world environment," Wyen said.