Bell urges USFK troops to ‘train safely’ in upcoming exercises
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — The top U.S. military commander here wants his personnel to “train and exercise safely” during the biggest combined exercise of the year on the peninsula.
Gen. B.B. Bell stressed the goal this week in a “Bell Sends” message, a way for him to get priority messages to his subordinate commanders and their personnel. Bell is the commander of United States Forces Korea, the Combined Forces Command and the United Nations Command.
Two exercises — Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration and another called Foal Eagle — will be held Sunday through Friday.
About 17,000 U.S. troops based in South Korea will participate, and about 3,000 troops from off-peninsula will travel to South Korea for the training. Officials have said about 5,000 U.S. troops will take part in off-peninsula locations.
The “exercise presents a great opportunity for our entire USFK team to assess our mission-essential tasks and operating procedures,” Bell said in the message. It also will “see our formations executing high-risk training.”
Bell said he accepts the risk but wants soldiers to use risk-management procedures.
“Commanders are responsible and first-line leaders are the decisive point in this effort,” Bell said. “I want commanders to empower subordinates, while holding them accountable for the safety of their service members, crews, teams and squads.”
As soldiers continue to train, “the potential for accidents increases,” Bell’s message stated. “To exercise safely, we have to defeat complacency, overconfidence, and indeed fatigue.”
Conducting the training without serious injury or loss of life is “absolutely achievable,” according to Bell. RSOI focuses on honing combined U.S. and South Korean forces’ ability to receive and integrate forces from outside the country. Foal Eagle focuses on rear area security and stability operations, onward movement of critical assets and select training events.
This year will mark the 45th Foal Eagle exercise and the fifth time Foal Eagle has been combined with RSOI, first held in 1994.