The U.S. Army and the South Korean Navy recently staged a practice raid on young North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s weapons of mass destruction stockpiles.
“The Iron Rangers conducted a ship-to-shore Air Assault from a [South Korean] Navy ship to an underground training facility,” the Iron Rangers, part of the 16th Infantry Regiment wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday. The purpose of the exercise, the online post introduced, was to “simulate a Counter-WMD operation.”
Soldiers from the Iron Rangers and the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division and units of 2nd Infantry Division participated in Warrior Strike VII at Camp Stanley and the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex. Details on the date of the exercise or the number of participants were not included in relevant reports, NK News introduced.
U.S. troops conducted an air assault launched from a Dokdo-class Landing Platform Helicopter Amphibious Assault Ship (LPH 6111), South Korea’s largest warship. The drill marks the “first time in recent history” U.S. troops have conducted an air assault from a South Korean naval vessel, Brigadier General David Francis revealed at the 2017 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit in Tennessee in late April, prior to the operations.
“We know for a fact [North Korea] has multiple locations that have WMD, and those sites are important to us. So while we are conducting direct action, combined arms maneuver to defeat and destroy enemy forces, we are also focused on getting in control of all of those sites that contain WMD,” Francis explained.
North Korea conducted around two dozen ballistic missile tests and two nuclear weapons tests last year. The North has launched ten ballistic missiles, several of which were new models, this year. “The concerning part about this is not necessarily that they are doing provocations,” Francis said, “What is a problem is they are getting better every time they do a missile test and every time they do a nuclear test.”
Some observers suspect that North Korea’s ballistic missile program is progressing faster than expected, suggesting that the North may be able to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile much earlier than initial projections indicated.
Several Warrior Strike drills have been held in recent months. During Warrior Strike VI, U.S. troops dropped in from Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters and joined South Korean troops in a raid on a village with a booby-trapped lab for the production of a lethal nerve agent, sarin.
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