SU SEONG-RI RANGE, POHANG, Republic of Korea – The iron-like birds swarm overhead surrounding their target- ready to strike. The marks in sight, they quickly descend as their powerful wings kick up the earth, filling the sky with a dark cloud of rocks and sand. As the dust settles, the surprised adversary is now silent, and the area is clear.
U.S. Marines and sailors with Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, performed a vertical assault raid portion of exercise Ssang Yong 2014 March 31 at Su Seong-Ri Range in Pohang, Republic of Korea.
The service members are part of the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Commander, Task Force 76, who are participating in the combined exercise with the ROK Marine Corps and Navy, and Australian Army forces along the eastern side of the Korean peninsula.
“This is an important opportunity for us to show the capabilities of a fully combined Marine expeditionary brigade working together,” said Capt. Matthew S. Ervine, executive officer of the battalion.
More than 100 Marines from the battalion flew into the range via multiple MV-22B Ospreys and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters.
The goal of a vertical assault for Marines could be to hold key territory or eliminate enemy forces. In what seems like a flash, Marines soar out of their aircraft and move toward their designated point using cover fire, bounding and other swift maneuvers.
To take down the simulated enemy force, which was comprised of other U.S. and ROK Marines, platoons from BLT 1/4 practiced suppressing, closing and simulating the destruction of enemy placements to secure objectives. The opposing forces were played by 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion, III MEF Headquarters Group, and 1st ROK Marine Corps Division, according to Ervine.
The Marines lived and trained with their ROK partners throughout the week leading up to the assault, in an effort to make both comfortable and fully ready for the complex air to ground assault.
“The training U.S. and ROK Marines have been giving each other has made all of us collectively more proficient, and it was seen in this training,” said ROK Marine Pfc. Yoong Kang, a translator with ROK Marine Corps 1st Division.
After securing the objective, BLT 1/4 went into a defensive position to be ready to engage any simulated enemy reinforcements until another unit relieved them.
“It builds my confidence knowing U.S. and ROKs can work and perform well together to get the mission objective complete efficiently and quickly,” said U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Michael C. Jaime, military policeman with 3rd Law Enforcement Battalion.
Ssang Yong 2014 is a tribute to the maturity of the ROK-U.S. relationship. The nations’ combined ability to operate across the range of military operations from disaster relief to complex, expeditionary operations contributes to the security and stability on the Korean Peninsula as well as the entire Asia-Pacific region.