OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea - "We have a volley!" was a common phrase heard on Osan Air Base this month, but it had nothing to do with the sport of volleyball. Instead, it was the phrase used to announce the launch of a simulated tactical ballistic missile (TBM) by Soldiers from the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command. The 94th AAMDC located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii deployed a robust contingent of personnel to the Republic of Korea (ROK) this month to take part in Key Resolve 2016. Key Resolve is a major annual command post exercise that highlights the commitment of the U.S. and ROK militaries to the defense of the ROK and maintaining regional stability.
"Key Resolve hones our skills as a battle staff to better assist the area air defense commander and deputy area air defense commander to visualize, describe, and direct decisive action against a highly capable threat," said Lt. Col. Steve Peters, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, 94th AAMDC.
The 94th AAMDC personnel also known as the "Sea Dragons" operate the Combined Air & Missile Defense Operations Coordination Center (CAMCOOC) at Osan Air Base. The CAMDOCC is where U.S. air defense personnel coordinate air and missile defense (AMD) operations on the peninsula with the ROK air force's air defense personnel during exercises and contingencies on the Korean peninsula.
"The CAMDOCC gives the U.S. and our ROK allies the best command and control capability to coordinate air and missile defense coverage across the peninsula," said Lt. Col. Frederick Ramirez, the director of the 94th AAMDC's Mission Command Element-Korea (MCE-K).
The MCE-K is a small contingent of Sea Dragon personnel forward stationed in South Korea to facilitate daily coordination with ROK and US AMD units on the peninsula. During exercises or contingencies, MCE-K is augmented by additional Sea Dragon personnel who sit side-by-side with their ROK air force counterparts in the CAMDOCC to coordinate AMD operations.
"Air and missile defense operations are very complex, which is why conducting regular exercises with our American allies is so important," said Major Jeong-Soo Seo, an operations officer for the ROK air force's Air Defense and Missile Command.
For this year's Key Resolve exercise, the CAMDOCC was also augmented with National Guardsmen from the 263rd AAMDC from Anderson, South Carolina. For many of the 263rd AAMDC personnel this was their first deployment to South Korea.
"Key Resolve was a fantastic opportunity for our unit to train on our core skills while simultaneously learning more about AMD on the Korean peninsula from our ROK allies," said Lt. Col. Dominick Martine, an operations officer that led the 263rd AAMDC contingent that deployed to South Korea.
The lessons learned from Key Resolve will be used to improve integration and combined plans between the two nations' air defense units to ensure that South Korea is properly protected from air and missile attacks by belligerent nations.