By Ms. Ki Yong KwonOctober 17, 2019
The Korean Service Corps has a long history of supporting U.S. forces in the Republic of Korea.
The KSC was formed out of necessity in 1950 to provide laborers to carry ammunition and supplies to U.N. forces during the Korean War. During its peak, the Korean Service Corps, which fell under Eighth Army, provided over 130,000 men to the war effort. Thousands of KSC personnel died while directly supporting operations during the war.
The KSC Battalion, which falls under Materiel Support Command-Korea and the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, is comprised of 18 paramilitary companies, with over 2,000 Korean civilians who provide direct sustainment support to US forces across the Korean peninsula every day. They are vital to the success of the U.S. mission in South Korea.
If hostilities were to break out, the KSC Battalion would swell to over 180 companies and 23,000 personnel to support operations. Because this is no easy task, the KSC regularly practices their ability to mobilize.
The KSC conducted a mobilization rehearsal of concept drill at Turner Fitness Center Camp Humphreys Oct. 17, 2019. ROC drills are a way for a commander to test their staff's knowledge of an operation before it takes place to ensure everyone understands the mission.
The KSC ROC drill is also designed to provide participants with a better understanding of the KSC, its employees and mission in order to improve synchronization of the mobilization process between Korean and U.S. forces. This is especially important due to the high turnover of U.S. personnel assigned to Korea. The last KSC Mobilization Drill occurred in 2017.
Senior leaders from the Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministry of Defense and the ROK Army, as well as several Eighth Army leaders, attended the drill. Distinguished attendees included the Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General -- Sustainment, Maj. Gen. Daniel J. Christian, the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Commander, Brig. Gen. Mark T. Simerly, U.S. Army Materiel Support Command-Korea Commander, Col. Christopher D. Noe, ROK MND, Labor and Skilled Manpower Officer, Mr. Hong, Myong Pong, and Republic of Korea Army Headquarters, Mobilization Officer, Lt. Col. O, Tuk Su.
Commanders, key leaders, and representatives from supported units took this opportunity to understand how the KSC enhances interoperability between Eighth Army, the ROK military, and the ROK government during wartime.
Lt. Col. John Cooper, Commander of Korean Service Corps Battalion, started his opening remarks speaking in Korean, expressing appreciation to the attendees, "Annyounghashimnika, oneul chamsokhae chusyoso kamsamnida. (Hello everyone and thank you for coming today)".
"As we continue to operationalize the Korean Service Corps, your detailed planning and synchronization make a big difference. You are all helping to ensure that every wartime KSC Company counts and is ready to make a maximum impact if ever called upon. Thank you and again, kamsamnida." He added.
The Korean Service Corps mission has expanded since the days of the Korean War. Along with conducting a wide variety of combat support and combat service missions during armistice conditions on the Korean Peninsula, they also provide a range of services from Korean language translators to transporting heavy equipment to Eighth Army and United States Forces Korea units.