POHANG, South Korea -- As soon as the back door to the CH-53E Super Stallion opens, Marines and sailors rush out fully geared with large packs on their shoulders and rifles at ready. Underneath their thudding boots, the pavement on airfield spread wide and far.
Marines with Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Landing Team 31, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, seized an airfield here for follow-on operations as part of Exercise Ssang Yong 14, an exercise conducted from March 31 to April 5.
CH-53 Super Stallions and MV-22 Ospreys from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced) provided the transportation to get the company from the USS Bohnomme Richard (LHD-6) at sea to the airfield.
After defeating a notional platoon-sized enemy force, the Marines and sailors emplaced defensive measures and around-the-clock security using M240G medium machine guns, M2 .50-caliber machine guns, 81mm mortar systems and other heavy weapons.
“As we secure the airfield, we’ll set up our posts and have active security measures to counter enemy threats and allow friendly aircraft to land and take off unimpeded,” said 1st Lt. Marc A. Mundy, a platoon commander with Co. G and a native of Queensbury, N.Y. “The security measures we have around the airfield compliment and reinforce the Republic of Korea Marines’ security too.”
Controlling the airfield allowed follow-on forces to flow in, as well as supplies and fuel, while also providing a hub for combined operations between U.S., ROK and Australian forces.
“This airfield is a key part to our allied forces’ interoperability,” said Cpl. Trevor W. Litchfield, a mortar man with Co. G and a native of San Diego. “Not only can the rest of the MEB flow in behind us, but using this airfield as a branching off point can strengthen positions more forward than us.”
For some of the Marines, the weather conditions were a far cry from the warmer temperatures they were used to in Okinawa or San Diego. Although the temperature dropped rapidly overnight and harsh wind and rain whipped across their position, they maintained discipline and the importance of their objective was at mind.
“The Marines did great,” said Capt. Jason C. Copeland, company commander of Co. G, and a native of Roswell, N.M. “They knew their jobs and their weapon systems. They had initiative and determination, and they had the discipline to stay focused over a long period of time.”
Ssang Yong 2014 demonstrates the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ responsive amphibious and expeditionary capabilities from the sea. Forward-deployed Marine forces, in conjunction with allies, have the unique ability to provide rapid force deployment for the full range of military operations, specifically in the Pacific region.