South Koreans show how they would assist in wartime
August 24, 2003
TAEGU, South Korea — The U.S. Army last week wrapped up its annual mobilization drills for the South Korean labor force — workers who would help dig fighting positions, recover bodies and host other support jobs if war broke out.
The two-day exercises — one in each of four locations around South Korea — drill the Korean Service Corps Battalion in setting up mobilization stations where wartime conscripts would receive initial equipment, training and administrative items.
During peacetime, the battalion serves as mechanics, drivers, carpenters, and other jobs.
“It’s our equivalent of a military entrance processing station, or reporting in to basic training,” said the KSC Battalion’s Sgt. Maj. Harold Mullen.
Within about two days, those mobilized would be sent out from the stations to U.S. military units.
The drills ended Thursday in Taegu, where the 32nd Korean Service Corps Company completed its two-day exercise at Taegu Middle School.
The company is based at the logistics headquarters Camp Henry, with the battalion based at Seoul’s Camp Kim.
Similar drills were held over the past three weeks in Pusan, Pyongtaek, and Seoul, Mullen said.
In Taegu, unit members set up a series of stations in the school classrooms.
Mobilized troops would pass through the stations and be given everything from field and chemical gear to identification cards and a quick health check-up.
“We’re looking to see if the … KSCs … are training on their job as far as pushing the mobiles through the station,” Mullen said. “We’re looking to see if the mob’ station equipment is set up and operational.”
Such drills are “very helpful” for KSC personnel, according to Ha Won, the battalion’s operations chief.
If needed in wartime, the 32nd KSC Company would be under the U.S. Army’s 20th Area Support Group in Taegu.
“They would actually run a mobilization station for all the KSCs coming through the Taegu area, so it gives them a chance to practice on a small scale what they would have to do in a contingency,” said Lt. Col. Wilfred J. Plumley, the 20th ASG’s deputy commander.
The battalion numbers 2,185 full-time employees in 15 companies.
In wartime, as the South Korean government drafted civilians to military duty, it would assign some 24,000 conscripts to the KSC, along with 800 South Korean Army Reserve officers.
That would bring the KSC Battalion’s wartime strength to 27,000 in 162 companies, Mullen said.
Mullen said the Army would review the outcome of this summer’s mobilization exercise and pursue whatever improvements may be warranted.