South Korea faces one of the biggest security challenges on earth: an opaque, belligerent, and possibly nuclear-armed northern neighbour with the largest artillery force in the world and a standing army of nearly 700,00 soldiers.
Seoul faces the constant prospect of war with North Korea, a country that’s both militarily powerful and unpredictable — Jim Jong-Un hasn’t been seen in public for other a month, and it’s unclear who really calls the shots in Pyongyang under the best of circumstances.
One way South Korea has tried to keep pace with North Korea’s military capabilities is through building up fearsome corps of special forces, consisting of seven special forces brigades with an eighth special mission battalion.
That battalion, called the 707th, or the “White Tigers,” is the most elite of the special forces within the South Korean Armed Forces.
The group is composed of volunteers from all branches of the military, along with handpicked candidates. Men and women both serve in the White Tigers.
Every member of the 707th is trained to the black belt level in Tae Kwon Do. Members of the battalion also take part in winter training, where troops must perform drills in the snow and freezing rivers.
All members of the White Tigers are also fully SCUBA and parachute certified. A video from South Korean broadcasting company MBC provides a look at the sort of exercises and training that the 707th routinely go through.
It’s possible that the video is not a totally accurate representation of the 707th, and is more for morale, military public relations, or psychological warfare purposes.
However, the video still highlights some of the amazing capabilities of the South Korean military’s most advanced special operations battalion.
Every member of the White Tigers is trained to a black belt level in Tae Kwon Do or another martial art.
The martial arts training utilizes both human and non-human targets.
Men and women equally train in hand-to-hand combat.
Aside from martial arts, the White Tigers participate in agility tests that would aid the battalion in urban warfare.
During training, the 707th practice infiltrating enemy-held buildings.
The battalion practices coordinating entry through a doorway with soldiers who rappel in through the windows.
The special forces also train in quick helicopter evacuations …
… As well as in high speed parachute drops.
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