18 Mar 2024 | Story by Lance Cpl. Evelyn Doherty 3rd Marine Division

U.S. Marines with 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment executed exercise Korea Viper 24.1 in the Republic of Korea, Jan. 31- Feb. 29, 2024, while forward deployed under 4th Marine Regiment, 3d Marine Division. Korea Viper is an exercise series that allows Marines to rehearse stand-in force operations and provides opportunities to train with Republic of Korea partners.

Operating at Camp Mujuk and Pyeongchang throughout the Republic of Korea, the Marines and Sailors of 2/7 rehearsed seizing and holding key terrain. The training schedule included opportunities to train with the ROK Marines.

During the exercise, Marines trained on a variety of skills including skiing techniques, mountain maneuver, and survival skills in an austere, cold-weather environment, reinforcing the well-known Marine Corps mantra, ‘any clime and place.’ The Marines overcame numerous challenges presented by the unfamiliar terrain with the help of their ROK counterparts.

“We’re stationed out of 29 Palms, California,” said Cpl. Anthony Orejel Jr., a sniper with 2/7. “Having the capability of going [from] somewhere really dry and hot, to a place cold and wet shows our lethality and our willingness to adapt to any situation. Being able to work with the ROK Marines allows us to learn how to operate in an environment like this since they’re familiar with the terrain.”

ROK and U.S. Marines adapted and overcame the language barrier via modern technologies and hand and arm signals. In the end, communication was seamless and the mission was accomplished.

"It’s good training for the Marines to work with allies through a language barrier,” said Sgt. Preston Braddock, a squad leader with 2/7. “Their ability to work through those friction points makes a significant difference in what they’re capable of doing in future scenarios.”

The ROK and U.S. Marines exchanged skill sets, demonstrating each services’ approach to urban terrain operations, combat fitness, and aerial assaults. Additionally, the partners conducted live-fire ranges, participated in a leadership course, and integrated with different fireteams, working shoulder-to-shoulder to successfully display small-unit leadership in various scenarios.

“We don’t train to fight any particular enemy,” said Maj. Joshua Burchfield, the exercise ground force commander. “This training shows any potential enemy that not only the U.S. Marines, but our partners, are ready to fight at a moment’s notice.”

Korea Viper culminated with a combined force-on-force rehearsal that included the skills the Marines learned throughout the exercise.

“Working with the ROK Marines has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Carter Pullman, a squad leader with 2/7. “It taught me not only how to work together with an allied force, but how to be adaptable to new surroundings.”