930th ALT takes part in 2011 Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise
By Cadet Andrea Valenzuela and Cadet Ashley George
WONJU & YONGIN, S. Korea (August 26, 2011) – Shortly after settling down in the tents of the First Republic of Korea Army (FROKA) Base, a team of 13 Soldiers from the 930th Army Liaison Team (ALT) alongside four Korean KATUSA soldiers, made their way to what would become their workplace for the next two weeks. Walking through several sets of stairs and security checkpoints, the team finally arrived at the Command and Control Center in Wonju.
Over at Yongin, a separate team of 930th ALT Soldiers coordinated efforts with members of the 8th Army Digital Liaison Detachment-Ground (DLD-G) unit as they commanded operations from Checkpoint Tango and the Third Republic of Korea Army (TROKA) Base. This marked the start of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) combined defense military exercise, a computer-assisted simulation exercise conducted annually by the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army and the 8th U.S. Army.
The exercise is designed to prepare Korean and U.S. forces to deter external aggression from North Korea and maintain regional stability in East Asia while strengthening the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command security partnership.
The 930th ALT, commanded by Col. Abe Conn, participated in this exercise as part of their Annual Training. With their element spread out over three command posts—Wonju, CP Tango, and Yongin—the 930th ALT participated in the exercise to provide liaison support between the 8th Army, the ROK Army and Joint Army Command within their respective locations.
The UFG exercise was strategically split into two parts. Part A focused on North Korean groundwork for an attack and reaction from the ROK and U.S. Forces as they focused on Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) and preparations for a counter-attack. This first portion of the exercise concluded with North Korean forces positioning themselves for a full scale attack.
Part B of the UFG exercise involved destruction of enemy forces and stabilization of the Korean peninsula. As liaison officers and Non-Commissioned Officers, the 930th personnel worked directly with Korean and U.S. military officials at the strategic level of theater operations and effectively implemented their ability to work and communicate with a foreign army.
The UFG exercise serves as a reflection of the historic and strategic partnership between the ROK and US, made official in 1953 with the signing of the Republic of Korea and the United States Mutual Defense Treaty. This year, the exercise involved the participation of over 530,000 South Korean military and government personal, 27, 000 U.S. Joint Forces, as well as representatives from several countries of the United Nations.
With the signing of the “Strategic Alliance 2015” in September 2010, this year’s UFG was of strategic importance as it marked a shift in the ROK-US alliance, characterized primarily by the transferring of wartime operational control to South Korea – a task initially scheduled for completion by 2012 but delayed after confirming reports of North Korea’s responsibility for the sinking of South Korea’s naval ship, Cheonan, in March of last year.
The exercise culminated with a “Victory Party” hosted by the ROK Army in which 930th personnel had the opportunity to interact with their counterparts, as well as several deputy commanding generals from both the ROK and U.S. Forces present in Wonju for the exercise. The Victory Party also included a visit to the FROKA museum located on post, in addition to special remarks from FROKA Commanding General Park.
During the ceremony, Maj. Roberto DeMarquez, operations officer for the 930th ALT, was recognized for his contributions to the exercise by being awarded a certificate of achievement and a FROKA watch and the 930th ALT was awarded a plaque to commemorate their participation in the exercise.