SEOUL, South Korea - Four members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pacific Ocean Division's (USACE-POD) Drilling Individual Mobilization Augmentee (DIMA) team participated in the U.S. Forces Korea exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) 15, which was conducted Aug. 17-28, in the Republic of Korea.
The POD DIMA team is comprised of 20 Army Reserve officers and noncommissioned officers, who support USACE-POD and Far East District by participating in defense-oriented exercises, such as UFG, conducting military planning, and maintaining readiness to respond to military contingencies.
Approximately 30,000 U.S. service members participated in UFG 15, with approximately 3,000 coming from off-peninsula. U.S. forces trained alongside ROK military forces and ROK government participants. They were joined by United Nations Command troops from Australia Canada Columbia, Denmark, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The exercise is named after Ulchi Mundeok, an early Korean military leader who repelled an invasion by China's Sui Dynasty in the 7th century. UFG is an annual exercise designed to ensure readiness to defend the ROK and sustain the capabilities that strengthen the ROK-U.S. Alliance.
The exercise also improves participating units' readiness in order to maintain stability of the Korean Peninsula. USACE-Far East District is one of those units that benefits from the exercise scenario and training.
Three DIMAs were embedded within the USACE-Far East District, validating their operations and planning skills during this major combined and joint training event.
Maj. B.J. Kraemer served as the officer in charge (OIC) of the Operations Center.
"As my first time supporting the Far East District and UFG, this is a tremendous experience to learn how USACE supports the war fighter in all phases of contingency operations," said Kraemer. "It's a great reminder of all of the assets and resources USACE can bring to bear to help support boots on the ground."
Kraemer was supported by the Operations Center noncommissioned officer in charge, Master Sergeant Michael Geho, and the Battle Captain, Captain Russ McNear.
"This is a great opportunity to exercise my battle staff skills," said Geho.
"The opportunity to be a part of the combined effort between the U.S. and ROK provides an invaluable training experience," added McNear.
Rounding out the DIMA team was Capt. David Boyd, some 780 miles away in Okinawa where he served as a liaison officer with the III Marine Expeditionary Force.
"Working with III MEF really expands my understanding of joint operations and it is very rewarding to share my experiences with another service," said Boyd.
UFG 15 provided Far East District military members and civilian employees the opportunity to validate competencies, such as readiness to transition to contingency operations, receive augmentees, and execute mission command, while providing engineering services throughout the region.
USACE-POD's Readiness and Contingency Operations (RCO) Division was the coordinating hub that effectively integrated the DIMA team into POD and Far East District's missions and training opportunities.
"Each DIMA member is a valuable enabler that enhances our readiness and ability to response to military requirements throughout the POD area of responsibility," said Drew Benziger, chief of the RCO Division.