Part I – Katchi kapshida – We go together

“Katchi kapshida” , Korean for ” We go together”, was never a more appropriate motto for the 2nd Infantry Division’s relationship to the Army of the Republic of Korea than between Nov. 3rd and 10th, when the Division carried on “Warpath III”, its annual command post exercise combined at Echelon up to the Joint Task Force Level with troops from South Korea.

As the name for the Brigade Warfighter exercise implies, Warpath III is the third in the series of training exercises in South Korea to reinforce the readiness of both U.S. and South Korean troops in the event of an attack by North Korean forces. Warpath I occurred last August. Warpath II was held the first week in October.

While focusing on brigade and mission command, the exercise, both on and off the Korean Peninsula was designed to ensure the joint mission of the 2nd ID and the forces of the RoK.

That mission, according to Maj. Junel Jeffrey, 2nd ID Public Affairs officer, hasn’t changed in the 60 years since the truce ending the Korean War was signed “to deter aggression on the Korean Peninsula. And should that deterrence fail,`Fight Tonight’ in defense of the Republic of Korea,” Maj. Jeffrey stressed.

The Warpath III exercise falls right into line with the 1953 U.S.-RoK Mutual Defense Treaty in which the United States agreed to help the Republic of Korea defend itself against external aggression. In support of this commitment, the U.S. has maintained military personnel in South Korea, inclusive of the 2nd ID.

To coordinate operations between these units and the Korean Armed Forces, a Combined Forces Command was established in 1978. The head of the CFC also serves as the Commander of the United Nations Command (UNC), and U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).

“The exercise allows our troops to practice many defensive –oriented scenarios that will ensure their readiness to defend the RoK, protect the region, and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula,” said Maj. Jeffrey.

“The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Warfighter consisted of various training in a simulated, combined arms environment,” Jeffrey said. “ The brigade was tested on skills necessary to ensure all facets of the unit are fully capable of carrying out the Mission Essential Task List.”

While the Major could not elaborate further on what that task list Included exactly, the Army Universal Task List, Field Manual 7-15, states, “Direct fire is inherent in maneuver, as is close combat. The function includes tasks associated with force projection related to gaining a positional advantage over an enemy.”

In addition, the intelligence warfighting function in its entirety is the related tasks that facilitate understanding of the operational environment, enemy, terrain and civil consideration, the Field Manual states.

U.S. Army Lt. Col., ret. Tom Lasser further defined what happens during the typical Warfighting exercise.

“A command post exercise (CPX) is a staff and commander communication drill. They can last hours, or they can go for over a week,” Lt. Col Lasser said. “Sometimes they are staged in a large room, sometimes in a hangar or in the field in tents or other tactical structures.”

Whether indoors or outdoors, “the purpose is to test plans, train staff, including radio and computer operators, and evaluate post layouts,” the Colonel added.

The exercise is preceded by staff training, a map drill, or “mapex”, according to Lasser, and then followed by actual field training exercises (FTX).

After plans have been validated and updated or revised, the Warfighter exercises are evaluated, having sometimes been taped, and then critiqued, he said. “It can be a stressful event.”

Stressful or not, on a soldier to soldier level, Warpath III was also designed to train and integrate newly arrived soldiers and familiarize them with the 2ID’s mission, Maj. Jeffrey added.

Overall, some 6,000 American and 300 South Korean troops participated in the third of what was called the Combined Forces Command Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises.

U.S. Forces participating in the exercise included the 20th Support Command–Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Explosives (CBRNE), Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; 2nd Engineer Brigade, Ft. Richardson, Ak.; 65thEngineer Battalion, Schofield Barracks, Hi.; 110th and 23rd Chemical Battalions, Ft. Lewis, Wa.; and the 48th Chemical Brigade, Ft. Hood, Tex.

In addition, U.S. Army Reserve personnel from 100-442nd Infantry Battalion, Ft. Shafter Flats, Hi.; 14th Psychological Operations Battalion from Calif.; and the 445th Civil Affairs Battalion from Utah took part.

Korean units participating in Warpath III were the RoK 17th and 75th Divisions, and its 7 Corps.

On hand to evaluate the training, in addition to the 2nd ID, was the Mission Command Training Program’s Operations Group Charlie from Germany.

After the evaluation was completed, command staff determined that Warpath III’s mission was completed successfully.

Continue to Part 2.

– Marc Yablonka