U.S., S. Korean troops hone combat skills in unison at Rodriguez
SEOUL — As the annual Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercise entered its last few days, U.S. Marines and their South Korean counterparts continued to train together at Rodriguez Range.
Tuesday’s training included fire and movement techniques on a small-arms range and mortar practice. Previous days included urban combat tactics, grenade ranges and various small-arms ranges.
"It’s been a great two weeks working and training alongside the [Korean marines]," said Capt. Eric Olson, commander of L Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. "It has a great potential to serve us well in the future if we’re ever called upon to work side by side."
The two groups also exchanged hand-to-hand combat training, with the South Korean marines teaching tae kwon do and U.S. Marines teaching Marine Corps Martial Arts, said Lance Cpl. Jacob Sandman of the 3-5.
He said he and his fellow Marines learned a lot during the exercise that began March 9.
"We learned they’re pretty much identical to us in the way they do things — their fire and movement and the way they’re disciplined," Sandman said.
Capt. Han Ki-hon, commander of 5th Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Republic of Korea Marine Regiment, said the training was especially valuable to marines who lacked the Americans’ combat experience.
But he said the most valuable experiences came from outside the tactical environment.
"We got lots of experience with them outside of training — eating lunch and playing sports together and learning from their personal experiences," Han said. "We learned it’s the same guys, the same Marines, just different color of skin."