1st MAW concludes Freedom Shield

1 Apr 2024 | Capt. Tyler King 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

Over 300 United States Marines assigned to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) partook in Freedom Shield 24, an annual, bilateral exercise with U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) Marines. Participants of the two nations studied operational plans during the ten-day exercise and refined tactical and operational best practices in support of the ROK’s defense.

Freedom Shield 24 provided a unique look into ROK defense. U.S. Marines provided lessons learned to the ROK Marines, and the ROK Marines taught the U.S. Marines about many unique characteristics found on the Korean peninsula. “Freedom Shield is one of the most challenging and comprehensive exercises that we support. It provides us the opportunity work closely with some of our closest allies and demonstrate the full complement of Marine, combined and joint aviation capabilities,” Lt. Col. Daniel Beck, Senior Plans Officer with 1st MAW, said of the exercise. “During Freedom Shield, 1st MAW improves our ability to conduct the six functions of Marine Corps aviation and aviation ground support alongside our ROK Marine Corps counterparts. This is a premier opportunity to demonstrate the combined power projection capabilities of the ROK-US Alliance and promote stability in the Indo-Pacific.”

Today, as the security posture throughout the Pacific shifts and countries vie for influence, the ROK no longer sees itself as an isolated country solely focused on self-preservation, but as a regional power whose national defense priorities closely align with that of the United States. The ROK is postured to defeat aggression from its northern neighbors, and the ROK is expanding engagements throughout the region. The ROK military’s role throughout the Pacific reflects the interdependent nature of international stability and the fluid relationship the countries of Northeast Asia share.

Through exercises like Freedom Shield, the integration of the two nation’s forces equates to combat power off the peninsula.

Brig. Gen. Kelvin Gallman, Assistant Wing Commander, 1st MAW, said this exercise and others like it are paramount to defending the Republic of Korea and maintaining our alliance with our allies on the peninsula. “We do not desire conflict. Deterrence is the goal,” Gallman said when addressing a room of U.S. and ROK Marines. “The adversary doesn’t like seeing us here. Because they dislike seeing the ROK and U.S Forces working together, learning from each other, developing our talents, and seeing our ally and partnerships strengthen.”

As the Marines of 1st MAW retrograde to their home station, discussions will shift to lessons learned and beginning preparations for next year. “Our commitment to the Republic of Korea is steadfast,” Gallman said, “and if called, we will be ready.”




1st Marine Aircraft Wing