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Marines make ROKs Guardian Angels

10 Mar 2008 | Cpl. GP Ingersoll 1st Marine Division

Sealed in the Corps' heart with ashes from the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, the concept of Guardian Angels has become Marine Corps law.

 And now we pass it on.

 U.S. Marines with the 81 mm mortar platoon, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, passed on the concept of Guardian Angels to Republic of Korea Marines here March 6.

 It started by mistake.

 "We just wanted to incorporate them into our schedule, as they would for us," said Cpl. Matthew J. Tri, 23, Park Rapids, Minn., an assistant gunner with mortar platoon, 3/7.

 As the Marines began setting up their mortars, deep in the hilly forests of S. Korea, they picked two Marines and two ROKs to stand guardian angel duty at the entrance to the site. The ROKs at first did not understand, but soon grew to accept and even advocate the practice.

 "The main thing is that guardian angels can guard the back end of mortars," said ROK Staff Sgt. Hyuk-Joo Kwon, 24, a platoon sergeant of the ROK mortar platoon, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. Kwon said that without guardian angels, a mortar platoon could be easily snuck up on and eliminated by enemies behind the lines.

 "Guardian angels can alert us ahead of time, and then we react accordingly," Kwon said. "This is the first time we've used Guardian Angels, I think it is always a good thing."

 Kwon thought the idea was so good he planned on proposing it to his superiors once the bilateral training came to an end. He said a platoon of mortarmen needs guardian angels, because the flanks and rear can be exploited by the enemy.

 His strategic confidence behind the concept was the driving force behind his adoption of the idea.

 "If it's a fire team sized enemy assault, the angels can easily put accurate fire downrange and take them out," Kwon said. "If it's platoon or larger, we can react accordingly. If we are alerted soon enough, we can change the direction of the mortars to hit the enemy."

 Leave it up to a Marine, ROK or U.S., to think of guardian angels as another method of destroying the enemy.

1st Marine Division