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In Photos: South Korea's Dress Rehearsal for War

We are in South Korea covering the annual Ssang Yong military exercises and having a look into the country's defense.
March 31, 2014, 6:55pm
Photo by Ryan Faith

It's no secret North and South Korea have been in the middle of a war that never really ended despite signing an armistice in 1953. Since then, the two countries have been preparing for full on assaults. The North has been touting its nuclear artillery while the South has been conducting joint training exercises with the US military. This week, VICE News' Ryan Faith is in South Korea covering the annual Ssang Yong military training exercises. Here's an inside look into the annual spring military exercise pageant.


All photos by Ryan Faith.

For more info from South Korea on the Ssang Yong military training exercises, follow Ryan Faith on Twitter: @Operation_Ryan

US and Korean Marines assigned to the Opposing Force (OPFOR), with the role of defending the beach during the training exercise. This exercise includes a mix of US and ROK troops in both attacking and defending roles. Nobody admitted to being the North Koreans.

The AAVs, realizing that amphibious landings are more spiritually fulfilling when they involve Marines, now return to their ship in search of passengers.

Catch up on the latest: North Korea and South Korea exchange artillery fire

Baywatch Pohang.

AAVs coming ashore to dig a hole and bury their eggs.

North Korea speaks softly and launches a big missile. Read more here.

Cpl Rhett McAbee, commanding his track, like a boss.

South Korean troops assigned as OPFOR in position.

A feat unparalleled by any other major military exercise, Ssang Yong combines amphibious landings, sporty Korean cars and SUVs, and two-player beat 'em up arcade games, in a way that North Korea would find almost impossible to match.

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Korean AAVs on the beach, benefitting from some of the earlier smoke generation.

One of Korea's assault hovercraft (known in US parlance as a Landing Craft-Air Cushion) used to bring ashore decidedly less amphibious things like tanks and Humvees.

After exiting the AAVs, US and ROK Marines immediately took positions in front of the vehicles and attacked through defending positions.

Not everyone was a fan of the joint exercises and many protestors were calling for the US forces to leave. Interestingly, the presence of protestors may have aided South Korean military and police integration, an unintended outcome from the exercises.