By Staff Sgt. Brett B. McMillanAugust 23, 2011
CAMP WALKER, Republic of Korea, Aug. 23, 2011 -- More than 50 Soldiers assigned to the 200th Military Police Command, including its most senior leaders, deployed to the Republic of Korea , or ROK, this month to participate in Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2011 -- a Combined Forces Command exercise involving the ROK, United States forces and seven United Nations Command sending state nations.
Maj. Gen. Sanford E. Holman, the commanding general of more than 14,500 Soldiers assigned to the 200th MPC, and Brig. Gen. Phillip M. Churn, deputy commander 200th MPC, led the command's forward team here, while Brig. Gen. John E. Cornelius, 800th Military Police Brigade commander, led a rear detachment of Soldiers participating from the command's home at Fort Meade, Md.
The Reserve warriors are a small part of a force of more than 530,000 troops taking part both on the Korean peninsula and at U.S. military headquarters in the Pacific and the United States.
Holman greeted his somewhat jetlagged Soldiers Aug. 14 in a welcome briefing on Camp Walker hours after their arrival on the peninsula, and explained the command's role as an enabling force with primary missions of supporting Noncombatant Evacuation Operations, or NEO, and a Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration, known as RSO & I, mission.
A NEO is conducted to evacuate U.S. civilians from a country due to a deteriorating security situation while the RSO & I focuses on the strategic deployment forces; rear operations command and control; force protection; force tracking; and sustainment missions.
"The RSO and the NEO missions are the critical cogs in the wheel of successfully ensuring the security of the South Korean people. The on-post security that we are going to help facilitate is pivotal," Holman said. "Our ROK partners are going to take care of outside the wire, and we're going to take care of inside the wire. If we aren't here, then our logistician battle buddies have to do it and therefore they can't have full focus on the logistical operations -- the sustainment piece of the deep and close fight."
"So not only are we providing the MPs and CID agents for that, we are assisting with the command and control of that rear battle that must be successful in order for the deep and close battle that the rest of the Combined Forces Command is waging to be successful. That is very significant," continued Holman.
UFG, an annual computer-assisted simulation command post exercise, is routine and defense-oriented, designed to improve the alliance's ability to defend the Republic of Korea by exercising senior leaders' decision-making capabilities and training commanders and staffs from both nations in planning, command and control operations, intelligence, logistics, and personnel procedures, according to a UNC/CFC/USFK press release.
"It is challenging and realistic training focused on preparing, preventing and prevailing against the full range of current and future external threats to the Republic of Korea and the region," said Gen. James D. Thurman, Combined Forces Command commander. "We are applying lessons learned out of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those garnered by the alliance's recent experiences with North Korean provocations on the peninsula and past exercises."
All of Combined Forces Command's major units are taking part, and U.S. forces are being augmented by about 3,000 military personnel from the United States and other bases around the Pacific region. Originally called Ulchi Focus Lens, the exercise is one of two annual Combined Forces Command peninsula-wide exercises.
"Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a defensive exercise designed to enhance the interoperability of the Republic of Korea and U.S. military forces and integration of UNC sending state forces, while enhancing the combat readiness of the Alliance," said Thurman.
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.