US/South Korea Rehearse Military Plan to Invade North Korea
November 1, 2016
International Business Times & Korea JoongAng Daily & Rachel O'Donoghue / The Daily Star
The US and South Korea have carried out a surgical strikes drill, codenamed "Teak Knife", simulating targeted attacks on key North Korean sites. This is thought to be the first time the two allies are making the details about such exercises public. The events are thought to involve simulated attacks on Pyongyang's core facilities -- particularly its missile and nuclear installations -- using fixed-wing aircraft and special forces. How would the US feel if North Korea were to hold a similar invasion exercise in Mexico?
US and South Korea Hold Surgical Strikes Drill
Codenamed Teak Knife against North Korea
Special forces of the two countries simulate precision strikes on key North Korean facilities in the exercises.
Vasudevan Sridharan / International Business Times
US and South Korea special forces hold surgical strikes drill codenamed 'Teak Knife' against North
SEOUL (October 27, 2016) -- The US and South Korea have carried out a surgical strikes drill, codenamed "Teak Knife", simulating targeted attacks on key North Korean sites. This is thought to be the first time the two allies are making the details about such precision strikes exercises in public.
"The US Air Force's 353rd Special Operations Group conducted a combined striking exercise against an enemy's facilities with the South Korean Army's special forces brigade at a military base in Gunsan (274km south of Seoul)," a top defence official told South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
The events are thought to involve simulated attacks on Pyongyang's core facilities, particularly its missile and nuclear installations, in case a fully-fledged war breaks out between the rival Koreas in the divided peninsula.
Special forces of South Korea and the US focused on entering the North's various positions through fixed-wing aircraft during the mock drill. Though similar exercises are believed to have been conducted routinely, specifics over the exercises emerging in the public domain are not common.
The South Korean official quoted by the news agency said he is releasing the information chiefly because of the simmering tensions in the region.
Meanwhile, South Korean forces are also embarking on another set of drills known as Hoguk combined manoeuvres. This event, which will run from 31 October to 11 November, will involve personnel from Seoul's army, navy and the marine corps. The two-week-long drills are meant to step up the combat readiness of the armed forces in the wake of an attack from North Korea.
So far, the hermit kingdom has conducted eight tests of its Musudan missiles (seven of them failed) while carrying out two nuclear detonations in 2016 alone, with no signs of scaling back. All these have escalated tensions in the Korean peninsula in recent months with the North's adversaries in the region stepping up their military efforts constantly.
US South Korea joint drill.
US-Korean Exercise Targets North
Sarah Kim, Park Seong-Hun / Korea JoongAng Daily
(October 29, 2016) -- The South Korean and US Air Forces carried out a joint exercise simulating precision strikes on North Korea's key nuclear and missile facilities, the military revealed Thursday.
The joint infiltration drill took place between Oct. 12 and 26 at the air base in Gunsan, North Jeolla, and involved the South Korean Air Force's Combat Control Team and the US 353rd Special Operations Group (SOG).
"We conducted the annual 'Teak Knife' drill, infiltrating airborne troops behind enemy lines," a Korean Air Force official said, "We were simulating a situation where we would infiltrate North Korea."
The 353rd SOG, based at Kadena Airbase in Okinawa, Japan, is 800 strong and specializes in wartime and contingency plans. In the event of an emergency situation on the Korean Peninsula, this group will deploy US troops for the infiltration of the North.
The South Korean Special Forces' Combat Control Team would land behind enemy lines and deploy an antiaircraft gun to remove any obstacles and obtain information about the weather and conditions.
This drill, focusing on the aerial infiltration of special forces into North Korea and simulating the destruction of the regime's key facilities, comes as Pyongyang conducted two nuclear tests and launched over 20 ballistic missiles this year alone.
While the Teak Knife exercise, designed to enhance the combat readiness of the US and Korean special operations, has taken place since the 1990s, it is rare for the two countries' militaries to make the drill and its purpose public.
The official said, "The Teak Knife exercise likewise put focus on airlifting our two countries' special forces into inland North Korea."
The two allies, following North Korea's fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9, have been bolstering the interoperability, or fluid cooperation, of special forces with the objective of surgically striking North Korea's key facilities.
The South Korean Air Force also took part in the Red Flag joint exercise held in Alaska from Oct. 12 to 21, during which it sent six F-15K fighter jets, a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and 147 personnel to the Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska for a three-week drill that was presided over by US Pacific Air Forces, the military here revealed Wednesday.
The Red Flag advanced aerial combat training exercise dates back to 1975, and this year, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and New Zealand also took part in the drill.
This exercise likewise simulated striking targets in enemy territory, namely North Korean nuclear and missile facilities and other key military and government buildings.
South Korea has taken part in Red Flag since 2001 but for this year marked the first time its transport plane also carried US troops for an infiltration operation.
South Korean special forces unit trained for raids inside North | World Tribune -- SOFX
Special Forces Sneak into North Korea to Destroy Kim's Nukes
Rachel O'Donoghue / The Daily Star
(October 31, 2016) -- A top secret operation has been completed that saw agents sneak into the secretive state of North Korea to destroy Kim Jong-un's weapons stash. United States and South Korean forces apparently staged the operation -- dubbed Teak Knife -- recently.
On Thursday (October 27) a US military spokesperson confirmed the exercise had been carried out in a rare public announcement.
They said: "Troops of South Korean Air Force's combat control team, an infiltration commando unit, and the US Air Force's 353rd Special Operations Group staged a joint exercise at Gunsan Air Base recently."
Part of the operation saw military transport aircraft practising flying low -- something that has been done since the 1990s to test infiltrating North Korea.
These aircraft are apparently used to transport special forces who are on a mission to destroy Kim Jong-un's missiles and nuclear weapons.
According to a South Korean news network, the 353rd Special Operations Group, which is based at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, completes missions to send commandos into the closed country.
The military spokesperson added: "The latest exercise focused on infiltrating an inland area in the North to destroy key facilities.
"It's different from a decapitation strike operation targeting the North Korean leadership."
There have been calls in the US to launch pre-emptive strikes in North Korea following numerous incidents of despot leader Kim Jong-un testing his countries nuclear power.
Just this week officials confirmed he a tested nuclear-capable missile which has the potential to reach the US military base in Guam.
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