Yonhap – S. Korea, U.S. resume combined medical support exercise

SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea and the United States held a combined medical support field training earlier this week after years of suspension caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the former’s Army said Friday.

The biannual exercise took place Wednesday and Thursday, with an aim to treat and transport casualties under a chemical warfare scenario, and enhance the allies’ interoperability, according to the Armed Forces Medical Command.

The U.S. Army’s 65th Medical Brigade and other medical units joined the exercise, mobilizing their key assets, including the KUH-1M, a variant of the KUH-1 Surion helicopter, the C-130 transport plane and the U.S. HH-60 choppers.

During the session, South Korean and U.S. service members practiced transporting wounded troops to Camp Humphreys, a key U.S. base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, by train.

South Korea and the U.S. launched the exercise, as they agreed in 2008 on the need for a combined field training on the transportation of troops injured in action. The exercise, however, did not take place in 2020 and last year due to COVID-19.

The resumption of the exercise came just a day after the inauguration of President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has vowed to cement the alliance and “normalize” the allies’ combined exercises.

Under the previous administration, Seoul and Washington had scaled down their major regular military exercises to help facilitate diplomacy with North Korea.

South Korean and U.S. service members participate in a field exercise in this undated file photo.

South Korean and U.S. service members participate in a field exercise in this undated file photo.

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