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Republic of Korea’s military retains watertight readiness posture, despite severe cold, heavy snow, and the COVID-19 pandemic

Republic of Korea’s military retains watertight readiness posture, despite severe cold, heavy snow, and the COVID-19 pandemic

Army runs safety patrol team during training
Navy conducts preventive maintenance of main equipment
Air Force carries out snow removal operation on airstrip·main roads
Marine Corps performs training to enhance cold resistance adaptability

Republic of Korea’s military retains watertight re

Hit by the strongest cold wave in the northern pole since the Sohan season – the 5th winter seasonal term out of six - last week, the Republic of Korea (ROK) was frozen stiff. On January 8, the temperature at Hyangrobong Peak, which is located in the mountain area of Gangwon Province, dropped to a low of minus 29.1 degrees Celsius, which was minus 44.1 degrees Celsius once the wind chill effect was considered. According to the Meteorological Administration’s forecast, the cold temperatures will soon hit a low as a cold wave warning is set to be issued again in most areas around the country this week. Yet despite the severe cold, our military maintains a watertight readiness posture to defend the country and protect the lives of the people. The soldiers of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps strive to strengthen the capabilities they need to fulfill their missions through constant training, even amid the severe winter cold, heavy snow, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of National Defense has instructed that measures be taken to secure the safety of soldiers who strive for training and mission performance. The ministry’s projects to establish response readiness to heavy snow and severe cold include offering personal goods to protect against the cold to soldiers on field training and preparing medical supplies to respond to the occurrence of colds. The ministry also asked the military to manage troops in a flexible way at the field commander’s judgment during training or operations in consideration of the weather.

In keeping with the ministry’s request, each of the military forces took proactive actions to prevent safety accidents. The Army runs a safety patrol team and an emergency medical support system during training to prepare for the worst. The Navy plans to operate a disaster countermeasures division to prepare for the worst case scenario, as well as to double-check the snow-removal equipment of all troops including at Jinhae Naval Port. Each unit of the Air Force, including fighter wings, checks its facilities and equipment often to ensure the thorough prevention of safety accidents.

Each of the military forces also strives to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is now considered basic practice to wear a mask and undergo a body temperature check twice a day. Contact with civilians is limited during field training, and soldiers keep a safe distance from person to person while carrying out billeting in the field.

More importantly, each of the military forces is committed to fulfilling intensive training and their original missions in order to maintain an unwavering military readiness posture. The Army’s special warfare command subordinate troops will conduct cold weather tactical training to improve their capability to perform special operations, including training in cold and snowing weather scheduled for this week. Some troops, including the 11th Division’s Tuho brigade, the 6th Division’s artillery brigade, and the 102nd Armored Brigade’s Pungho battalion, also plan to conduct training with the goal of improving their capability to perform winter combat and small unit tactics.

In a rare situation in which the Jinhae Naval Base Command sea was frozen by severe cold, the Navy carries out practical education and training to suport safe navigation, as well as proactive preventive maintenance of the main equipment related to navigation and flying to be ready for an extended cold wave. To ensure that aid can be provided promptly in the event of a marine accident, the Navy conducts regular inspections of the disaster response unit so that it is ready to be mobilized as needed, allowing it to have the ability to handle the situation regardless of the accident type. The soldiers of the naval special warfare unit conduct cold weather education and training to improve their capability to perform winter missions.

The Marine Corps also continuously engages in actual-combat training, even during the prolonged COVID-19 situation and severe cold. Having set a winter training period between last month and February, all troops belonging to the Marine Corps are committed to improving their cold resistance adaptability and capability to fulfill winter operations. The combat and supporting troops, including the 2nd Division, are engaged in different types of training, including personal training, small unit tactical training, and battalion-level field tactical training, while the security forces perform situational training exercises. The brigade level and above also conduct battle staff training based on the situation, and the search troops plan to enhance their capability to fulfill missions according to their position through training in cold snowing weather.

Each unit of the Air Force conducts snow-removal operations on airstrips and main roads to ensure that air operations and base missions can be performed in stable conditions. The Air Force also engages in actual-combat training, including flight training, airstrip damage repair training, and aircraft firefighting training, to ensure that each unit is ready for winter operations. The Air Force is also committed to fulfilling its missions, including frequent inspection on facilities and equipment to prevent safety accidents in winter, to maintain a strict readiness posture.

By Ah-Mi, Cho <>

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