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Inside the U.S.-South Korea Military Training in Mojave Desert

Daniel Kim Views  

Soldiers from the NTC training unit of the Army are mobilizing to secure a target area during a joint ROK-US military exercise in the Mojave Desert, California. /Army

A total of 131 soldiers from the Army participated in a month-long joint ROK-US military exercise in the Mojave Desert, California, seeking to enhance ROK-US interoperability and joint combat capabilities.

The Army announced that the 2024 US NTC Training Group successfully completed the joint ROK-US military exercise at the US National Training Center and returned home in the early hours of the 16th.

The NTC is located at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert, California, and is a 2,400-square-kilometer training ground approximately four times the size of Seoul. It is notoriously challenging due to its extreme desert environment, including scorching heat and dry climate.

The NTC Training Group was formed in February as a medium-sized task force (TF) with 131 soldiers from the Army’s 8th Mobile Division last February. After preparing for training in Korea for over two months, the NTC training group was trained in the US from April 17th to May 14th.

The NTC ROK-US small unit joint training has been held since 2014 and this year marks the eighth time. It is the second time for a a medium-sized Korean mechanized infantry unit to participate, following last year.

A machine gunner from the NTC training group of the Korean Army is on the lookout in the direction of the opposing forces during a joint ROK-US military exercise held in the Mojave Desert, California. /Army

The NTC training includes high-intensity tactical training and live-fire shooting training for over a week in the most realistic battlefield situations using scientific training systems such as MILES equipment. In particular, this training verified the joint combat capabilities and interoperability of the US and South Korea through realistic combat training in various operational environments with the US 2nd Division 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

From the 10th day of training, they conducted high-intensity tactical training for eight continuous days and nights against professional opposing forces in the actual training area while armed with Warrior platforms. Afterwards, they conducted live-fire shooting training for five days and nights under assumed attack situations, taking the ROK-US joint operation capabilities up a notch.

Major General William D. Taylor of the US 2nd Division/ROK-US Combined Division, is encouraging Korean soldiers during his visit to the training ground of the joint ROK-US military exercise held in the Mojave Desert, California. /Army

Captain Joo Eun Chong, the company commander of the NTC training group, said, “From the preparation to the end of the training, we fiercely engaged in training every moment with the mindset that ‘training is operation and operation is training’. As a result, we gained strong confidence in conducting small unit joint operations and deeply felt the strong bond of the ROK-US alliance and camaraderie by overcoming various battlefield situations with the US forces.”

The Army plans to further expand domestic and overseas joint training such as the joint KCTC training and K-ICTC (Korea International Combat Training Competition) in the future.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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