Guard’s 930th Army Liaison Team takes part in South Korea exercise

Written by  //  August 25, 2011  //  Feature Stories

By Cadets Ashley George and Andrea Valenzuela

SOUTH KOREA (Aug. 25, 2011) – This year the 930th Army Liaison Team (ALT), based in Homestead, Fla., took part in the Republic of Korea-United States Combined Forces Command Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) 2011 exercise for annual training.

The 930th ALT at the Joint Security Area. Note civilian attire required due to the sensitive nature of the site. Courtesy photo

More than 530,000 troops from the Republic of Korea, United States and seven United Nations Commands (UNC) took part in the annual computer-assisted simulation command post exercise.

“Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a defensive exercise designed to enhance the interoperability of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and U.S. military forces and integration of UNC sending state forces, while enhancing the combat readiness of the [ROK-US] Alliance,” said Gen. James D. Thurman, Commander of United Nation Command, ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.

The 930th ALT Soldiers, commanded by Col. Abe Conn, arrived in South Korea on Aug. 11 and quickly began their mission by acquainting themselves with the South Korean culture and history in which to better understand the nature of the UFG exercise. The first stop was the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), now called the Peace and Life Zone (PLZ), where unit members were able to walk down into the Third Tunnel of Aggression. The tunnel, built by North Korea to prepare infiltration lanes for a surprise attack behind South Korean front lines, was one of four discovered to date.

Next stop was Dorasan Observatory (OP Dora) at the northernmost point of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), where the unit took advantage of its first glimpse into North Korea. The DMZ journey was completed with a visit to the Joint Security Area (JSA), a chilling and intense experience where visitors look across the MDL into North Korea.

Entrance to Third Tunnel of Aggression. Courtesy photo

The tension between the ROK Army’s Military Police and the North Korean soldiers was quickly felt as they intently watch one another each day. Members of the 930th had the opportunity to stand in the Conference Room at the JSA where South Korean and North Korean leaders come together for diplomatic negotiations. Standing in the northern-most part of this room places visitors across the MDL into North Korea for a short time. 

Upon the start of the exercise, the 930th coordinated with Col. Michael Ferris, Commander of the 8th Army Digital Liaison Detachment, Ground (DLD-G) unit to understand the role of the 930th. The unit was charged to liaison between the 8th Army, ROK and Joint Army Command. The unit was split into teams to provide coverage at three command posts: CP Tango, Yongin and Wonju. Operations for the team at CP Tango and Yongin were focused on liaison between 8th Army and Third Republic of Korea Amy (TROKA). Meanwhile operations in Wonju were focused on liaison between 8th Army and First Republic of Korea Army (FROKA). Throughout the exercise each location pulled 24-hour operations and split their teams into day and night shifts.