(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S. hold 1st joint Army special operations drills of year

The Army's special operations troops wrapped up this year's first combined exercise with U.S. Green Berets on Friday, officials said, amid joint efforts to hone combat capabilities against North Korean threats. The exercise began at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex in Pocheon, 52 kilometers northeast of Seoul, on Jan. 22, involving troops from the North Star battalion under the Army Special Warfare Command and the U.S. 1st Special Forces Group, according to the South Korean Army. The two sides staged various drills, including those on combat shooting and first aid, special reconnaissance, and directing air support, it said. They also formed combined teams to stage a two-day reconnaissance and infiltration exercise without sleep to identify and destroy a target by directing simulated air strikes. "The Army Special Warfare Command will closely analyze the exercise's results and strengthen education and training to enhance combined special operations capabilities," the Army said in a release. The U.S. speci al operations unit in South Korea confirmed the drills, adding that U.S. SEALs and other troops from the Naval Special Warfare Command also separately trained with South Korean soldiers and police personnel last week. "Through the presence of a strong, credible, and combined (special operations forces) ... we round out an integrated deterrence posture that enables a free and open Indo-Pacific," U.S. Special Operations Command-Korea said on its Facebook page. The joint drills took place as tensions are running high amid North Korea's continued saber-rattling in the new year, including the launch of cruise missiles Friday. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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