Photo: via Department of defence
Every year, 20-some-odd thousand troops from the Republic of Korea and the United States get all their loudest, flashiest toys together, churn up the ocean, and culminate by throwing an exclusive party that’s about 10 miles from the demilitarized zone in North Korea.Every year, this happens. Yet every year, North Korea flips out.
One year, I even got to go.
In 2008, the two main operations — Foal Eagle and Key Resolve — were put together as one. Key Resolve is the largest body of operations, consisting of jets, ships, and naval exercises.
Eventually the Marines unload and meet up with Army personnel who are permanently stationed in South Korea.
The gear and Marines move up to the mountains, where Foal Eagle kicks off, between 10 and 15 miles from the Demilitarized Zone. This is where I was. This is the party.
... I'll never forget, all day long, every minute or so, every building would rattle as the M1 Abrams fired another round.
Other basics, like posting perimeter security, are like second nature for a country so close to war.
ROK's may be there in part to learn from the U.S., but there's no shortage of confidence on their part.
Clearing staircases, rooms, and roofs, the whole exercise takes a matter of minutes. Then they repeat. And repeat. Until exhaustion kicks in.
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