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