April 16, 2018 09:27
The U.S. Forces Korea practices evacuating American civilians to the U.S. mainland on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for a war on the Korean Peninsula.
The USFK carries out the exercise twice a year, but normally volunteers are only taken to Japan rather than all the way to the U.S.
The Stars and Stripes military newspaper first reported the change last month.
The civilian volunteers will be transported to a U.S. military base in Japan first and then all the way to the U.S. mainland, a USFK source said. A military aircraft is on standby at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, and the USFK has selected about 100 volunteers, mostly families of service personnel.
Normally the drill is carried out using computer simulations in South Korea, though in November 2016, right after North Korea's fifth nuclear test, civilians were taken on a military transport plane to a U.S. base in Japan.
But now North Korea's missiles have a longer reach, civilians are taken further out of harm's way.
The North showed last year that it has the capability of striking U.S. bases in Japan and Guam with the test-launch of a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile with a range of 5,000-5,500 km.
There are about 230,000 American noncombatants in South Korea.
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