The US military carries out the Exercise Teak Knife at an airfield of Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, on Wednesday, in this photo from a Facebook account of the US Special Operations Command Korea.(Yonhap)
A US Forces Korea (USFK) unit carried out surgical strike drills involving its special commandos earlier this week at an American military base just south of Seoul, its public affairs office said Friday, following North Korea's missile provocations.
The USFK's Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR) revealed on its Facebook account a series of photos showing key activities of the Exercise Teak Knife at an airfield of Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, on Wednesday.
Designed to ensure "realistic, multi-domain" readiness, the exercise included drills on an airfield seizure, hostage rescue mission, nighttime infiltrations, close air support, precision fires and direct action raid, according to SOCKOR.
The disclosures came as Pyongyang fired a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) Sunday, two SRBMs on Wednesday and another two Thursday. The regime's saber-rattling coincided with a South Korea-US naval exercise involving the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.
Asked to comment on the exercise, SOCKOR Spokesperson Kimberly R. Chatto stressed the importance of "realistic combined training."
"Consistent, challenging training provides opportunities for our service members to practice skill sets from close air support, air traffic control, humanitarian and crisis response, hostage rescue and more," Chatto said.
"South Korea has several diverse locations to help sharpen our combined forces with robust scenarios that exercise our combined tactics and procedures, build camaraderie, and continue our ROK-US alliance," the official added, referring to South Korea by its official name, Republic of Korea.
The spokesperson also pointed out that the allies have a "vital interest in deterring and defending against provocations or the use of force."
A year ago, the US military also made public its Teak Knife exercise amid tensions caused by the North's missile launches.
The exercise was seen by some observers as involving an operation to "behead" the North Korean leadership, but the US military dismissed the view, saying it is a training program designed to "maximize unit and individual readiness."
In recent months, Seoul and Washington have been ramping up the public communication volume when it comes to their combined or standalone drills as part of efforts to sharpen deterrence against evolving North Korean nuclear and missile threats. (Yonhap)