POHANG, South Korea --
Several members from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit recently assisted the Republic of Korea Marine Corps in developing an annual exercise and visited a ROK Navy ship and positions along the demilitarized zone.
Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2009, an exercise in which the Koreans will lead and the U.S. will play a supporting role, will incorporate computer simulations to respond to events on the Korean Peninsula.
During the two-week conference at the 1st ROK Marine Division base, MEU members contributed concepts for the exercise, which will test certain abilities of the South Korean and U.S. militaries.
“The outcome of this planning conference exceeded our expectations,” said Lt. Col. Robert Rice, MEU operations officer. “The ROK Marines are true professionals. It was a pleasure to serve alongside them. Additionally this was a great opportunity for the MEU staff to refresh its knowledge of our amphibious doctrine.”
The staff visited the ROK Navy’s newest amphibious ship, the helicopter assault ship Dok-Do. While aboard, the visitors learned that amphibious operations and the Navy-Marine Corps team are concepts that transcend national boundaries.
Visitors lodged at Camp Mujuk, a short drive from the ROK Marine base in Pohang. A once forlorn facility, Mujuk -- Korean for “invincible” -- has undergone construction improvements that have made it an impressive place to stay.
“The barracks were incredibly clean, and the chow was exceptional,” said Cpl. Adam Ellis, a Marine with the intelligence section of the MEU, “I would enjoy being stationed here.”
The American Marines also visited positions along the Demilitarized Zone occupied by 2nd ROK Division Marines standing post barely a mile from North Korea.
The staff returned to Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 12 to continue planning the MEU’s first at-sea training exercise before deploying later this year.
Working closely with the U.S. Navy’s 7th Amphibious Squadron, the 11th MEU will board the USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Cleveland and USS Rushmore to conduct an integration exercise.
This exercise will showcase the Navy and Marine Corps team, which will conduct training missions from the ship to the shore, testing logistics, aviation and ground forces.