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Face of Defense: Troops Deploy to South Korea for Exercise

By Walter Ham 20th CBRNE Command


YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea, August 21, 2014 — The U.S. Army's only command that combats chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats is participating in this year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise held in South Korea Aug. 18-29.

The Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland,-based 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) is training with other U.S. and South Korean military forces during the annual exercise.

Defensive in nature, the command post exercise is designed to keep U.S. and South Korean forces ready to maintain security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. The exercise is named after Ulchi Mundeok, a 7th century Korean military leader who repelled an invasion by China's Sui Dynasty. It is the second of two command post exercises held every year in South Korea.

This year, Ulchi Freedom Guardian involves 3,000 personnel from military bases in the U.S. and across the Pacific region. U.S. and South Korean forces are being joined by United Nations Command forces from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Soldiers and civilians with the 20th CBRNE Command are trained to counter weapons of mass destruction, eliminate CBRN and explosive ordnance threats, and defeat improvised explosive devices.

With specialized units on 19 installations in 16 states, the 20th CBRNE Command trains with joint, interagency and allied partners around the globe.

According to 20th CBRNE Command Chief of Staff Army Col. Rich Schueneman, the deployment of nearly 100 20th CBRNE soldiers to South Korea to participate in Ulchi Freedom Guardian demonstrates the command's operational flexibility.

"The 20th CBRNE Command is ready, reliable and globally responsive," said Schueneman, a Bristol, Indiana, native who previously served with the 1-72nd Tank Battalion in South Korea. "This is one of our nation's oldest and strongest alliances and we welcome the opportunity to train with our South Korean allies."