Annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian Exercise Concludes
By Walter T. Ham IV
8th U.S. Army
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea, Aug. 26, 2011 Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian concluded today after two weeks of intense training across South Korea.
Army Capt. John Spengler, front, assigned to the 8th U.S. Army Surgeon's Office, participates in Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2011. U.S. Army photo by Pvt. Kim Gye-myeong
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The computer simulation exercise is held every summer to hone the warfighting skills of the combined defense team in South Korea.
Led by the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command, the exercise provides commanders and staff at all levels the opportunity to train for full-spectrum military operations.
During the exercise, the 8th U.S. Army moved its operational headquarters from one post to another and set up a joint task force headquarters. Army Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, the 8th Army’s commander, said his unit “is evolving to better-support the Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance.”
An important part of that evolution, Johnson said, is his unit’s ability to quickly set up a deployable combined headquarters, with a U.S. and ROK integrated staff.
Johnson said he was pleased with the results of this year’s exercise.
“I’m absolutely convinced that we can tackle whatever challenges are thrown at us,” the general said. “We are ready to deter or defeat any threat here on the Korean Peninsula.”
Johnson also praised the efforts of other U.S. Army units that supported the exercise, including U.S. Army Pacific, III Corps, the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 28th Infantry Division, the 20th Support Command and the 200th Military Police Command.
“I’m proud of how our entire Army team performed during this exercise,” the general said. “This training helps prepare us to rapidly respond to any provocation or crisis, and be ready to fight and win.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney D. Harris, the 8th Army’s senior noncommissioned officer, said the exercise gave his soldiers the opportunity to train as they would fight.
“And I was thoroughly impressed by their pride, professionalism and dedication,” Harris said.
Ulchi Freedom Guardian is one of the largest annual military command post exercises in the world. The second of two annual exercises held in South Korea, UFG follows exercise Key Resolve/Foal Eagle, which takes place each spring.