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Elite airborne troop of U.S. conducts descent training in Guam

Elite airborne troop of U.S. conducts descent training in Guam

Posted July. 02, 2020 07:38,   

Updated July. 02, 2020 07:38


The United States Army conducted training of large-scale emergency deployment of its airborne troop stationed in the U.S. mainland to the Guam base for nine to 10 hours. This seems to be another attempt of the U.S. to show off its regional strategic superiority to North Korea and China, following the forward deployment of nuclear (B-52) and conventional (B-1B) strategic bombers in Guam and Alaska and a joint military exercise of two carrier strike groups in the Philippine Sea near the Korean Peninsula.

According to the United States Indo-Pacific Command on Wednesday, over 400 members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division dressed in full gear left the Elmendorf Air Force Base in four C-17 troop carriers in the early morning of Tuesday.

As the carriers arrived in the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam after flying 7,600 kilometers for nine to 10 hours, all troop members on board conducted descent training, the U.S. Army said. The training also included the troop members ensuring the safety of the occupied area by identifying the virtual enemy facilities and targets after landing.

This is the first time that such a large-scale descent training took place at the Guam base, which is the key hub of the United States Indo-Pacific Command. The base is also where the U.S.’ strategic asset B-1B bombers are deployed to. “It was meant to examine the mission completion posture in a situation similar to actual warfare,” said a member of the U.S. Army. “This training has proved the capabilities of the airborne troop to be immediately deployed to anywhere in the United States Indo-Pacific Command’s operation area.”

The U.S. Army said the training was part of the ongoing joint military drills in the region and did not reveal whether the training was targeted for specific countries. However, both in and outside the military, experts agree that it was the U.S.’ display of its strength against North Korea and China.

It is likely that a crisis, such as an emergency on the Korean Peninsula caused by the North’s provocations targeting South Korea and the U.S. or an armed conflict with China over the South China Sea, might have been assumed for the training. “The U.S. clearly showed its determination to take strong actions by deploying large-scale elite airborne troops in the shortest time possible in the case of a crisis in Northeast Asia potentially caused by North Korea and China,” said a military source. Some say that the training was more geared towards delivering a message to the North as large-scale airborne troops of the U.S. can be deployed to the Korean Peninsula from Alaska in just six hours in the case of North Korea’s full provocations if the training scenario is applied to the peninsula.

In fact, the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division is the only airborne team of the U.S. Army deployed to the United States Indo-Pacific Command and regarded as one of the most elite troops. It has completed many operations successfully as one of the key troops deployed to address conflicts in the Middle East, such as Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The troop is also known to frequently conduct air assault training against virtual enemy facilities across Alaska.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com