S. Korean Marines conduct cold-weather drills to sharpen combat readiness
By Song Sang-ho
SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- Despite freezing temperatures, shirtless Marines slogged through annual winter drills on an eastern mountainous training site earlier this month, testing their physical limits and cementing their camaraderie to ensure combat readiness, according to the military Monday.
Some 160 members of the Marine Corps reconnaissance unit engaged in the regular weekslong cold-weather training that ran from Jan. 2 to Friday at the snowy military facility in Pyeongchang, 126 kilometers east of Seoul.
The session included high-intensity physical fitness training, the head-carrying of inflatable boats and cadence calls, as well as tactical maneuvering activities using choppers to practice infiltration procedures.
During the grueling drills, soldiers were seen sweating, belying the cold weather of minus 10 C or lower at the facility located 1,407 meters above sea level.
"We have been engaging in the training to become combat specialists capable of winning in a fight with enemies even at this very moment through this realistic training centering on our battle missions," Lt. Col. Shin Myung-jae was quoted as saying.
A highlight of the training was a tactical operation, under which troops fast-roped from an MUH-1 Marineon helicopter to carry out a covert infiltration mission. The participants also practiced maneuvering on snowy terrain and transporting casualties to safety.
"Despite the adverse conditions, including the effective temperature hovering around minus 20 C, Marines exuded enthusiasm during the training," the Marine Corps said in a press release.
Following the training, the troops in full gear were set to begin a 400-kilometer march, officials said.
The South Korean Marines, along with their U.S. counterparts, have sought to strengthen combined amphibious landing exercises as part of efforts to enhance readiness in the midst of evolving North Korean military threats.
The exercises included the Ssangyong (double dragon) drills, which the allies plan to scale up to a division level from the brigade level.
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