By Capt. Emily Klinkenborg (311th Signal Command)October 24, 2017
FORT SHAFTER -- The Republic of Korea and the U.S. Combined Forces Command conducted the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise, Aug. 21-31.
Personnel from the 311th Signal Command (Theater) participated in the exercise as augmentees for the Eighth Army G6 Contingency Command Post at Camp Walker, South Korea.
The Eighth Army G6 CCP Team monitored exercise-related activity and reported significant events to the Main Command Post at Camp Humphreys, South Korea.
The augmentees filled different positions to help sustain the exercise, such as two battle captains, some help desk positions and positions attached to the Command Post Node (CPN) team. They manned two shifts, day and night, that rotated in and out. Together, the team provided 24-hour contingency communications throughout the exercise.
"This was my first exercise, and it was a rewarding experience as a battle captain. While we were operating under an exercise environment, there were simultaneous real-world events happening in North Korea," said Nisha Chawla, 311th SC (T) G335 assistant plans and exercises officer. "I am definitely going to push to go on more exercises like this in the future."
UFG is designed to enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula. Approximately 17,500 total U.S. service members participated this year, with approximately 3,000 arriving from off-peninsula.
U.S. forces joined ROK military forces representing all services, as well as ROK government participants.
Nine United Nations countries also participated in UFG 2017, including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
"This is my third UFG this tour, and (I) have participated in UFGs and variations of it, to include its predecessor Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL), in previous Korea tours dating back to the mid-90s," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Billy Schultze, senior Information Services technician, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Eighth Army G6.
"UFG is a constantly evolving exercise as the mission set in Korea adapts to the current threat. From a Signal point of view, the technology since the '90s, and especially in the last four years, has greatly improved to enable coalition commanders decisive capabilities. This includes the training and quality of trained Soldiers and civilians operating and maintaining this technology."
Training exercises like UFG are carried out in the spirit of the Oct. 1, 1953, ROK-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, and in accordance with the Armistice for the Restoration of the South Korean State (1953).
These exercises also highlight the longstanding military partnership, commitment and enduring friendship between the two nations. They help to ensure peace and security on the peninsula, and reaffirm U.S. commitment to the Alliance.