FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- Soldiers from the 94th, 32nd, and 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command, made history when they joined more than 50,000 South Korean troops for the annual computerized command and control warfighting exercise, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, Aug. 17-28.

This was the first time three AAMDCs have ever participated in the same exercise.

"Bringing the three AAMDCs together during this exercise allows for a great learning experience," said Maj. Todd Tillirson, battle major, 263rd AAMDC. "It demonstrates and strengthens our interoperability between the two countries' armed forces, and it also allows for one to experience interoperability within our own military as well."

The annual exercise, which first took place in 1976, enhances the combat readiness of the Republic of Korea and U.S. Forces, as well as maintains the stability on the Korean Peninsula, ensuring security in the region.

Tillirson also said, "The end goal is to build an integrated partnership that allows for combined team coordination, to conduct theater level integrated air missile defense, planning and execution, in both real world and exercise world events."

"The joint partnership opportunities, with both the (U.S.) Air Force and ROK air force, allowed Soldiers from the 94th, 263rd, and 32nd to get a better understanding of how their efforts have a reaching effect on operations throughout the Korea Theater of Operations," said 1st. Lt. Monica Toole, unofficial spokesperson, 263rd AAMDC.

During UFG 14, the 94th AAMDC trained with its bi-lateral partners, the ROK air force air defense missile command counterparts, on integrating air and missile defense capabilities, while also strengthening working relationships in the combined air and missile defense operations coordination cell.

Importantly, and a first for UFG 14, this exercise also enabled the 94th AAMDC to validate its mission command and deputy area air defense commander responsibilities. The 94th AAMDC's forward deployed mission command element in Korea, headed up by Lt. Col. Jeff Slown, exercised their "fight tonight" manning construct during the crisis management portion of UFG. This enabled the 94th AAMDC deputy commander to seamlessly assume DAADC responsibilities.

"I want to acknowledge all the hard work and effort our Soldiers consistently put forth to be successful in an exercise such as this," said Brig. Gen. Eric Sanchez, commanding general, 94th AAMDC. "From the 94th AAMDC personnel operating both at our main command post within the 613th air operations center and forward with the 607th AOC; to the 263rd AAMDC leaders that augmented our forward operations in the combined operations center; to the 32nd AAMDC leaders who deployed to assess augmentation force flow; to the 35th ADA Brigade; and finally to our bilateral partners, the ROK air force ADMC leaders working alongside our Soldiers in the operations coordination cell -- I am extremely proud of everyone that participated."

Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a Combined Forces Command-led warfighting exercise. It provides an invaluable opportunity to evaluate, train, and improve combined and joint coordination, procedures, plans, and systems necessary for the conduct of contingency operations.