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January 12, 2018

WINTER IS HERE: War in Korea Would Be ‘Game of Thrones-Like,’ Top Marine Says.

Speaking to deployed Marines at a base in the Middle East while on a Christmas tour of deployed units, Gen. Robert Neller sought to temper their enthusiasm at the potential of a future ground fight.

“Ever been to Korea? Korea sucks,” he told the troops bluntly. “The people are wonderful; the country is tough.”

At a number of stops on the trip, Neller addressed the major threats outlined by the Defense Department: Russia, North Korea, Iran, China, and violent extremism. Among the four nations, he noted, North Korea is the only one that can be assessed to have both capability and intent to take violent action.

Some of the Marine Corps’ most physically demanding bilateral training takes place in South Korea, where troops are subjected to freezing winter conditions, terrain climbs, and long hard marches in the cold.

And the memory of Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War — nicknamed “the Frozen Chosin” — serves as proof of the toll the elements can take on a fighting force.

“It’s mountainous. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter. There’s hills, narrow passes, very difficult,” Neller said. “We have to think about how we fight.”

“It would be ‘Game of Thrones’-like,” he said. “And a lot of people would get hurt. I might be wrong, but it’s a very complicated issue.”

The terrain reduced US/ROK logistical and firepower advantages, helping to produce the stalemate which persists 65 years later.