ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on November 23rd, 2013 at 3:20 am

Two 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers Die in Apparent Traffic Accident

» by in: USFK

UPDATE #1: Via a reader tip Yonhap has a picture that shows that bridge the vehicle apparently fell off was actually one of the small bridges on the training area:

A U.S. army vehicle fell into a river in northern South Korea during military training, killing two American soldiers, military and police officials said Friday.

Soldiers in a U.S. Army Humvee were taking part in a brigade field training exercise in the vicinity of the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex and fell into the Hantan River in Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi Province, on Thursday, the U.S. Forces Korea said.
Following the search throughout the night, the bodies of a major and a corporal were found near the river around 10:25 a.m., according to the authorities.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link, but this accident happening on the training area itself is more likely than happening enroute because there are primitive roads and smaller bridges on the training area and it can get very dark out which makes navigation difficult if they were driving at night.


This is the first I have heard of anyone being killed during a convoy to Rodriguez Range:

Two soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division were killed after their military vehicle went into a river near the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex in South Korea Nov. 21, Army officials confirmed.

The names of the soldiers are not being released until their families have been notified.

The soldiers went missing while they were driving to a training area during a brigade training exercise, according to a 2nd ID news release.

The soldiers were found after an overnight search that started late afternoon on Nov. 21 when their unit lost contact with the soldiers, the release said. [Army Times]

You can read the rest at the link, but I saw nothing about the accident posted on the 2ID website or the USFK website. It is however not unheard of to have fatal training accidents in Korea because I can remember some happening years ago along the Imjim River.

The S&S says the soldiers killed were a corporal and a major. There are a few rivers that have big bridges across them on the way to Rodriguez Range so it is not like there was primitive bridges they had to cross if the accident happened on the way to the range as reported. I am sure we will eventually hear what happened but condolences to all the families effected by this tragic accident.

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  • Leon LaPorte
    3:27 am on November 23rd, 2013 1

    One of the ford bridges near Rod. It was not a convoy – unimproved road.

  • Maui
    4:21 am on November 23rd, 2013 2

  • Maui
    4:24 am on November 23rd, 2013 3

    Above link with possible photo of bridge. :cry:

  • Leon LaPorte
    5:10 am on November 23rd, 2013 4

    3. That is it.

  • Smokes
    6:07 am on November 23rd, 2013 5

    Leon you think it’s one of these:

    Perhaps got lost? Doesn’t look like where you’d normally go to/from RR.

    I’ve never had to go up to Rod Range but from my time in 2ID I did some `sploring up north of Dongducheon and had encountered a few of those kind of bridges and never once did I brave the crossing in my car, walked out onto some and took pictures but I wasn’t sending the car out there. :shock:

  • Smokes
    6:07 am on November 23rd, 2013 6

    Ahh man, did my last post go into the spam trap? :???:

  • 2ID Doc
    6:40 am on November 23rd, 2013 7

    GI-It’s possible you’re thinking of the water crossing in 1989. during M-113 water crossing exercise a 113 flipped and a KATUSA was who could not swim drowned. I remember it distinctly as out unit although not involved did pass the hat during formation, to help the soldier’s family with any expenses. My KATUSA roommates did not know the soldier, but were understandably saddened. That was also when I learned that if a ROK soldier is dies as a KATUSA, it is on the family for the funeral. I’ve heard apocryphal stories of other deaths prior but have no personal knowledge.

  • n2guns
    7:15 am on November 23rd, 2013 8

    There are actually two bridges side by side. The lower bridge has no guard rails. It is the one in the picture and it is the one we used in military vehicles. Notice the dirt road leading to the bridge. The other bridge is for regular traffic.

    I can’t remember where it is and I can’t find it on Google Earth or Daum Maps.

  • Smokes
    7:23 am on November 23rd, 2013 9

    You mean this one?:

    I linked to a few bridges as I didn’t know which it was but the spam trap got me. :cry:

  • n2guns
    7:41 am on November 23rd, 2013 10

    #5 Smokes – The second link looks right. That is actually on the northern tip of St. Barbara Range which is about 5 miles (straight line) from Rodriguez Live Fire Complex. Everything I read mentions only Rodriguez Live Fire Complex and HanTan River. Your second is on the Hantan River.

    There was a video on one of the Korean news channels of the area. In that video, you could see the two bridges but they didn’t show a map of the area.

  • n2guns
    7:44 am on November 23rd, 2013 11

    #9 Smokes – Sorry, we crossed posted – I waited to long to reply and didn’t refresh. The picture I was referring to was from post #2 – Maui.

  • Smokes
    8:01 am on November 23rd, 2013 12

    Yeah it looks to be that one; the Yonhap photo seems to be taken facing west atop the small hill on the left side. Can’t get into roadview to confirm because of the location and nature of business in that region.

    I’m wondering why they drove down there though and not just crossed the main bridge? Are M998/M1038′s required to use the forging bridges?

  • Smokes
    8:02 am on November 23rd, 2013 13

    Ermm fording bridges… I don’t think anyone’s foraging. ;)

  • ChickenHead
    8:45 am on November 23rd, 2013 14

    When you want to sell toys, call your shop Toys-R-Us. When you want to sell chicken, call your restaurant Kentucky Fried Chicken. When you want to want to sell international business machines, call your company IBM.

    When you want to cross a river, drive a Ford.

    Problem solved.

  • Retired GI
    11:02 am on November 23rd, 2013 15

    I bet the Drivers Training Program will get a shake-up. But then again, I never saw one that wasn’t a joke. Too bad the program will still be a joke after they fix it. I never met a Commander that took it seriously.

  • William
    11:43 am on November 23rd, 2013 16

    DOD accident investigation team sure to arrive, investigate, and make conclusions. Guaranteed that the dispatch procedures, maintenance, driver’s training and licensing, the convoy brief, the leader’s risk assessment, the commander’s judgment, the amount of sleep the driver had, the 1SG and PSG’s failure to see a possible bad driver, and any other random thing will be looked at, brought up, written up, and blame assessed.

    Driver’s training, if found to be a contributing factor, would be blamed, changes directed, and I agree, nothing of substance really changed as it takes a separately paid, funded crew of trainers whose sole job is driver’s training and a full month of daily participation over all manner of situations just to get new drivers halfway over being wet in the ears. There NO WAY the majority of BNs can dedicate a crew of 10 NCOs to do this job of classroom instruction and simultaneous driving experience of a dozen or tow of new Soldiers at one time. The expertise and experience is there, but most units have too much going on to dedicate such a large number of NCOs to one task without doing the job of their assigned billet.

    Perhaps the 8th Army could take over Camp Stanley or some other camp with excess barracks space and create a special unit for driver’s training and require everyone there to complete one month of classroom and hands-on training. That is the only practical solution as BNs will not do this sufficiently on their own.

    Area IV has something similar, but it is much smaller in scope and not as effective. There is simply not enough time to give everyone supervised behind the wheel time in enough different situations.

    We all get what we are asking for requiring driver’s training to be run by people who also have work mounting up before, during and after driver’s training is done in the 1-2 weeks it lasts. 1-2 weeks is entirely too short. Maybe a month is too short, but certainly 1-2 weeks with only a few NCOs is clearly not enough training. The 8th Army and the rest of the Army had to strike a balance between properly training Soldiers and getting work done. Compromising on this area has costs and we see them every month.

  • William
    11:46 am on November 23rd, 2013 17

    I am not making any conclusions as to what caused this accident, I’m just articulating my agreement with Retired GI’s comment about driver’s training.

  • Glans
    12:55 pm on November 23rd, 2013 18

    It’s a sad day when our soldiers die.

  • Ole Tanker
    3:20 pm on November 23rd, 2013 19

    Surprised not a word has been said about the HEAT (Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer).

    Just curious how they do the training in Area I? Is it mandatory? I bet this unit and personnel had not completed the training.

  • Bob
    7:09 pm on November 23rd, 2013 20

    #19, Considering it was a Major who died, also, I’m assuming he used the egress at least once in his career. Who knows if that was the reason they died? Jumping to conclusions.

  • Yisunshin
    7:55 pm on November 23rd, 2013 21

    I am in their battery. Terrible accident. This unit cares nothing about safety. Most of the licenses are faked for soldiers who have never attended driver’s training. I don’t know if that is the case here, but it’s quite common. Horrible situation….

  • William
    11:20 pm on November 23rd, 2013 22

    Bob… not ALL Majors deploy… go into a PX, like the one in Camp Red Cloud and look near the checkout for a poster sign pimping the use of a PX recyclable bag that will give you a 5 cent discount every time you use it. The guy modeling this one is the poster child for cush assignments throughout a career. Dude looks like a mid-40s Major with ZERO combat patch. How can someone stay in the Army the last 10-12 years and NOT deploy at least ONCE? Easy for a few.

    BTW, I am licenced to train Soldiers on the HEAT. The training given and executed is washed and watered down from a real accident rollover. It is so for a good reason… we would injure a lot of Soldiers training if we made it real. If we could put Soldiers in a 30 MPH Hummer and make a sudden rollover and crash, we would already be crushing bones. Think what would happen if we are doing this in some freezing water to boot. We would really be upping the chance for serious scheize happening. Hopefully, we get through to everyone the concepts of how to realize a rollover and how to cope with it saving your skin and that of others. Having a Soldier go through this once (like they do in Area IV as part of their initial driver’s training) is a good start, but personally, I cannot expect that one quick session with the HEAT to bring everyone’s level up enough to perform perfectly in a real-world situation. In these things, one’s confidence in self/other team members and training take over and get one through something.

    I find it difficult to believe that if a hummer was going 15-20 MPH and rolled over into the water that is not white rapids, that a crew of two could successfully get out. Maybe they had up-armored doors and they were going fast and weren’t wearing seatbelts, suffered broken arms and couldn’t open the doors? Who knows what happened. Hard to tell from the report. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were hauling ass to get somewhere and mis-judged the road and terrain. That happens a lot.

    In the earlier days of the Army, we would go to the field a LOT and do BDE on BDE or larger exercises frequently, would move camp frequently, sometimes several times a day or night. We would sleep wherever we could whenever we could. it was common to lay out the sleeping bag right on the ground and get 2-3 hours of sleep while someone fell asleep on guard. it was a common thing for a vehicle to not see you using NVGs and run you right over. I am glad we finally got over making the chances of that high.

    Every time I went to NTC, someone died there, never failed. Always was someone who never drove there before doing some kind of night move. One time, it was a 5-Ton truck with a SFC on his last two months before retiring and the truck ran into a pit dug by a tank that wasn’t filled back in. The 5-Ton rolled over and crushed that SFC passenger stone dead.

    Until our Army stops practicing moving around with heavy stuff in unfamiliar places, we will have these incidents. If we stop altogether practicing these kind of things, then we will be REALLY unprepared for what happens during wartime movement and will REALLY be killing ourselves, so some kind of balance has to happen and it is a bad deal that it increases the chances of fatal incidents.

  • William
    11:36 pm on November 23rd, 2013 23

    Yi, I feel for you man. Although the licensing procedures you describe are kinda extreme bad, your unit is not the only unit like this and many other units are not far behind.

    Even units who actually do it by the book and regulations cannot even 1/10 properly train the force. There simply are not enough NCOs and trucks set aside in each unit and enough road time given to get a Soldier trained enough.

    This (under-training) obviously increases the chances of deadly incidents happening.

    Since units do not dedicate or cannot dedicate (without dropping something else (like sending Soldiers to places to fix their MEDPROS or AR350-1 required company/BN level annual training classes)… Since this doesn’t happen, it is natural that there is a much higher chance of fatalities when operating equipment.

    Earlier this year, there was a Soldier who was ground guiding an LMTV or MTV and got between the truck she was ground guiding and another parked large truck. She got crushed and died. This is an example of an incident easily prevented by training and individual/leader will to do it right, but I use it to illustrate that if we cannot get simple things like how to apply common sense when ground guiding, how can we expect to always get something more difficult, like varied challenging driving situations right?

    I posted earlier that I believe only a theater wide system no-bullshit live-in MONTH-long driver’s training held at a site with the barracks space to accommodate it (like Stanley, since Artillery, AVN, and 2ID newcomers vacated) using a couple dozen NCOs would come close to getting the force prepared for driving in Korea. I am sure the 8th Army could muster enough equipment and personnel for this, they come up with enough NCOs to run WLC… The space is there and there is plenty of room to house the Soldiers, trainers, and the equipment. Next to no one uses the theater and there are other rooms there too. The Trans Company has (or had) a dedicated driver’s training program on Stanley, but it was run by only a few NCOs, not enough to really give everyone enough road time, but at least a decent start, much better than most units.

  • Judge and Jury
    1:05 am on November 24th, 2013 24

    Rather than insist on a month of training to reduce the chances of deadly accidents, and rather than insist that lack of such a training program increases deadly risks while driving, take this incident independently and analyze the specifics of how it occurred instead of generalizing.

    No manner of training will succeed in preventing accidents – no matter how lengthy, how realistic, nor how intense.

    The judgments used in the act of driving are subjective; this means drivers are not programmable, not train-able, if they are prone to poor judgment.

    What should happen is that a rigorous TEST should be applied before becoming a qualified driver. So if you want to focus on the training, in order to pass the test, then each unit CAN CONDUCT THIS ON THEIR OWN – NO NEED TO USE A CENTRAL TRAINING SITE AND SEQUESTERED TRAINEES.

    Allowing soldiers to slide on driving tests, or slide on simple motor pool tasks, is the fault. Harsh punishment and mandatory practical exercises tend to correct sloppy and nonchalant driving and motor-focused skill. You can spell this as l-e-a-d-e-r-s-h-I-p if you’d like, but regardless, it is strict adherence to standards and rules, and swift enforcement of corrective behavior that leads to clear judgment and correct decision-making.

    Even minimally trained drivers are able to apply good judgment in the absence of specialized or lengthy training.

    In this incident it may be hard to tell, but allowing the driver to take this road in whatever conditions were present, and allowing the driver to use judgment that did not prevent the accident – these are likely the culprits of this deadly accident.

  • Jinro Dukkohbi
    2:09 am on November 24th, 2013 25

    For what it’s worth, the Korean news sources are saying that the two Soldiers could not escape their overturned vehicle due to the bulk and weight of their equipment they were wearing. This makes sense to me – all of that IBA with plates, yadda, yadda adds-up and when you cram yourself into a HMMWV wearing all of that crap, you can barely move around to begin with. Since it’s getting cold, they were most likely wearing a bunch of snivel-gear as well, perhaps bulking it up even more. Only time and a complete investigation & report will shed light on all the details, but it seems like there was some perfect-storm stuff going on as well…

  • Yisunshin
    2:37 am on November 24th, 2013 26

    I don’t know what the answer is. More training, better training, more sleep, I don’t know. I just wish someone would hold leadership accountable. Again, no one knows (might not ever know) the exact details of this accident. However, there are clearly dangerous and irresponsible things going on here. When anyone speaks up, they are threatened with austere assignments, ucmj, and suspensions of liberty. I’m not new to the army, and I know what right is. The training measures and checks currently in place are more than sufficient to educate and protect usfk forces. However, these measures are routinely overlooked,half-assed,’ or out-right ignored. It’s unfortunate.

  • Yisunshin
    2:39 am on November 24th, 2013 27

    And for those curious. The vehicle was an 1151 (up armored truck)

  • Flyingsword
    3:35 am on November 24th, 2013 28

    Units these days have to take shortcuts somewhere…350-1 requirements, EO training, sex asslt prev tng, korea cultursl tng, etc. There is actually not enough time in the year to accomplish all the training.

  • ChickenHead
    5:29 am on November 24th, 2013 29

    Flyingsword, are you saying these two poor guys spent more time learning not to rape girls or shake babies than how to get out of a flooded vehicle?

  • Retired GI
    6:17 am on November 24th, 2013 30

    That is exactly what he is saying ChickenHead.

    That is it exactly.

  • Retired GI
    7:39 am on November 24th, 2013 31

    Notice that the First comment after I brought up Drivers Training started out listing a bunch of absolutely USELESS crap. Thanks William.

    Everything William listed is Crap. USELESS crap. All it is designed to do is create the Appearance of Drivers Training.

    William is right about this, you need a dedicated crew of NCOs for DT. This half-assed shit the Army does of making DT an additional duty shows how undervalued the (so called) program is. It really doesn’t exist!

    “Guaranteed that the dispatch procedures, maintenance, driver’s training and licensing, the convoy brief, the leader’s risk assessment, the commander’s judgment, the amount of sleep the driver had, the 1SG and PSG’s failure to see a possible bad driver.” From William. Lets take them one at a time, shall we?

    Dispatch procedures: Crap. Nothing to it. Turn in the request and receive the keys. So it was not the “Dispatch Procedures”. About as involved as putting your key in the lock to get in your house. Nope.

    Maintenance: Maintenance? You got to be kidding me! There is one day a week where the entire morning you do little else (at least those poor bastards that actually HAVE a license). Motor Pool SHOULD DO THAT JOB. All the vehicles are in THEIR motor pool. (Then they would have something to do during the week) Nope.

    The “convoy brief”: “we are going here. this is the route. Depart at_____ Arrive at_____ “and don’t forget Safety First” Check the weather report on the way out. William does NOT have a military license. Nope.

    the leader’s risk assessment: ;-) I almost blew coffee out my nose when I read THAT. Like the CO knows enough about it to make an assessment. The risk assessment is just another useless piece of paper designed to seem like the Army gives a rats ass. Truth be told; if the Army gave a rats ass, it would be the Marines. It doesn’t until people die. Then it holds up those papers and says; See look at all this. We tried! We really Tried!! bullshit! Nope.

    The commander’s judgment: WTF is that? They came up with yet ANOTHER useless piece of paper to show how much they don’t care? I would think the CO has important meeting to attend rather than get involved at such a basic level as DT. Or at least that is the way IT SHOULD BE. WTF is wrong with the “junior” Leaders? Must the CO do EVERYTHING? Which we all know he isn’t going to do and shouldn’t have to do. Nope.

    The amount of sleep the driver had: What are you going to do? Pull up a chair and watch GI Joe “sleep”? Besides, that is never an issue. As a lower ranking Troop — SORRY — as a “Junior” enlisted Troop, I was woken up many times for “hey you” missions on Saturday mornings, at 05:00 when we had all been out to the ville till 01:00. No one cares.
    It got so bad that even when I didn’t co out, I would set my alarm for 04:30, get up and drink two or three SHOTS of Jim Beam and go back to sleep. Just so I could honestly say that they needed to get someone else THIS TIME! Didn’t work. I still drove. Nobody cares! Sleep? Not the problem. Nope.

    The 1SG and PSG’s failure to see a possible bad driver.” Now that is truly Funny. William the 1SG would have to be involved to see that. He shouldn’t be involved with that! That isn’t his or her job. It is the PSG’s job. But lets face facts. The PSG doesn’t care. Bad driver? 95 frigging percent are “bad drivers”. 95% of the troops I trained with and later trained myself just straight up SUCK at driving in Korea. (#1, is they think a stop sign means something in Korea) I should not have to explain that. I assume that road conditions still turn “black” during the major Korean Holidays. There is a reason for that. Koreans can’t drive. The holidays are used as “population control”. I know that’s mean to say. I don’t care.
    Here is the point on this one: The CO, 1SG, and PSG don’t care if they are “bad drivers”. They cannot afford to care. If they did, they would have ZERO drivers!
    However I recall once raining a Troop who had never driven before. EVER. NEVER EVER driven before. He sucked. He would have been dangerous on the road. I would not put my name on as being trained. What did I get for my troubles? An ass chewing from ALL those so called “leaders” and it didn’t help my NCOER much either.

    The Drivers Training program is a sham. It is a “check the block”.

    The EO program is much more important.

    Sergeants Time (another bullshit idea that was taken away from the first line supervisor) and given to the Sergeant Major — so he would have something to actually DO) is also much more important. It just hit me! Give Drivers Training to the Sergeant Major! He usually walks around the motor pool disrupting the smooth flow of actual WORK anyway. Give it to the Sergeant Major if it really is important.

    Drivers Training is not important.

    None of those papers the CO has to sign are important. The CO’s drivers interview, went to his “in box”. There was never an “interview”. Just more worthless paper for the CO to sign.

    The only result of the Soldier and the Major dying will be — wait for it — here it comes —- ANOTHER piece of worthless paper for the CO to sign.

    You want to fix it? Give the “program” to the Sergeant Major. Seriously! That worthless, overpaid individual is usually looking for something to stick his nose into. Give him a job! :idea:

    Damn. I’m tired now. My head hurts. From remembering all that stupidity.

    I spent nine years in Korea. The last one was 2003. If anyone in a position of importance should happen to read this, you might want to take it to heart.

    That is all I have on the subject.

  • Smokes
    8:17 am on November 24th, 2013 32

    Jesus f**king christ. What’s wrong with you all? I thought I was a surly dude but you guys… how many thousands of posts are on here mocking big Army/Military about some new training they’ve come up with to finally get rid of _[insert undefeatble negative fact of life]_ that in the milions of year of existance humans on the whole couldn’t get rid of?

    But yet a good chunk of you have sweaty fingers now because you couldn’t type fast enough to yell and holler about what changes in training/Army/Military need to happen to ensure this “NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN”! Wake up, regardless of how many zero tolerance speeches people give and plans they come up with you know what has a tolerance for accidents? Reality. The sh*t happens.

    I could maybe kind of see why you’d all start on this path if this was a frequent occurance here but it sure isn’t. In fact the last one I’m aware of was way back in the 90′s involving a couple signaleers who died when their shelter got buried in mud during heavy monsoon rains (help me out here older Rok Droppers with the details). Other than that one everyone else who’s died here did so for some non-training releated reason (hit by a car, heart attack, etc.)

    Personally I think HEAT wouldn’t have changed a thing. Firstly it’s done in the same manner ranges in Korea are done in that everyone’s pushed through assembly line style with no focus on quality just in search of that glorius high no. of people the people running it can slap on their next eval. It’s never taken seriously, it’s more a carnival ride than anything. Finally it’s not done underwater, big difference between trying to egress in a vehicle on the side of the road and trying to do so while getting soaked with ice cold water in the pitch black fully knowing in minutes your lungs will be filling up with that same water. HEAT is more of the useless optimal setting, low risk, no reward training the Army loves to run. :???:

  • Ole Tanker
    1:00 pm on November 24th, 2013 33

    Some links to HEAT training. Yes, it often has a carnival atmosphere!

    HEAT was developed out of necessity.,d.eW0

    But if you look at the class content, you see it covers a lot of relative information.

    A well administered HEAT program could provide muscle memory and confidence in emergency situations.

    Even underwater at night with a surge of adrenalin, survival chances are greatly increased. Just look at Ted Kennedy!

    In the videos we see multiple turns, my gosh are they doing rolling down a mountain side in Afghanistan?

    Instead of the wham bam thank you mamma, rollover and get out, check the block, go downtown.

    Concentrate on the 90 and 180 Egress from doors disengaging the combat locks or exiting through the Turret.

    In this case I wonder if the soldiers had just egressed the vehicle it was shallow enough at least they could have climbed on top of the vehicle to await rescue?

  • Bremondtigers
    8:06 am on November 25th, 2013 34

    I know when I was stationed at Camp Casey back in 2011, there was a policy that said there would be no single vehicle movements. If they had another vehicle with them, maybe this could have been avoided.

  • Judge and Jury
    6:00 am on November 27th, 2013 35

    In this case, whatever sound and sensible judgment was used to evaluate the danger of crossing the bridge immediately came under attack from the arrogant and smug orifice of whoever ordered the vehicle across the bridge.

    I truly hope that the truth lies with and stays with these fallen soldiers, because the whole scenario stinks, and knowing the truth of why it was necessary to drive over that bridge would be sure to cause overwhelming pain and suffering to those who survive them.


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