U.S. Marines rock rappel during ROK Marine Mountain Warfare Course

U.S. Marines rock rappel during ROK Marine Mountain Warfare Course

U.S. Marine LCpl Matthew T. Maldonado makes his way across the single rope bridge March 19 during the second day of the three-day Mountain Warfare Training Course at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pohang, Republic of Korea. A rope bridge can be made of one, two or sometimes three ropes to bridge a river or ravine. Maldonado is an engineer equipment mechanic with 7th Communication Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF. Photo by LCpl Cedric R. Haller.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA MARINE CORPS MOUNTAIN WARFARE TRAINING CENTER (March 19, 2014) — U.S. Marines learned how to rappel down rocky surfaces and cross rope bridges from Republic of Korea Marines March 19 during the second day of the three-day Mountain Warfare Training Course at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Pohang, Republic of Korea.

The U.S. Marines going through the course are with various units under III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group and are in the Republic of Korea to take part in Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise 2014. MEFEX 14 exercises the interoperability and combined capabilities of the ROK and U.S. Marine Corps. 

The course gave U.S. Marines a chance to build camaraderie between units and a relationship with the ROK Marines, according to U.S. Marine SSgt David J. Sheer, an electronic maintenance technician with 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III MHG, III MEF.

"The training definitely builds confidence in your equipment and your fellow Marines, both ROK and U.S.," said Sheer. "It's an excellent opportunity to train with other units and work with the ROK Marines. The ROK Marines are very professional and expertise in mountain war-fighting techniques was impressive."

Although all U.S. Marines learn how to rappel, The ROK instructors introduced the U.S. Marines to various scenarios and new techniques to conquer them, according to U.S. Marine LCpl Michelle A. Mendoza, a motor transport operator with 9th, Engineer Support Battalion, III MHG. 

"This was refreshing, I never thought I would do something like this," said Mendoza. "It's a lot less pressure than in boot camp, so you're able to get inside your comfort zone and see what works for you. You actually learn what you're doing. I'm more confident in my abilities because of what we did today." 

For the U.S. Marines participating in the training course, it was mentally and physically challenging.

"I was excited to do this, I love an adrenaline rush, and the height of the cliff-face and rope bridge the ROK instructors had us navigate was much higher than anything I have done before and crossing all three rope bridges was strenuous but I still went back for more," said Lance Cpl. Joseph Taylor, a motor transport operator with 7th Communication Battalion, III MHG. "This training taught me new techniques for rock climbing and rappelling I want to continue using and build upon in my own time."

According to Sheer, Marines should take full advantage of an opportunity like this. It's a chance to work with professionals from a different country. It provides a challenge but also develops confidence.

"As Marines we are expected to fight in any clime and place and this kind of training is what being a Marine is all about!" said Sheer.

The Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) is provided as a public service operated by Third Army/U.S. Army Central (ARCENT) on behalf of the Department of the Army in support of all branches of the U.S. military (Navy, Air Force, Marines) and its Coalition partners serving in the U.S. Forces Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility.