May 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force's C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane was deployed for the first time on the Korean Peninsula during joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises, according to reports.
The C-17 landed at Daegu Air Base in South Korea on Monday about noon, arriving from a U.S. military air base in Okinawa, South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported Thursday.
The two militaries checked loading and unloading capabilities to improve interoperability between the forces. South Korea's Air Force Logistics Command and Seoul's CN-235 tactical transport aircraft took part in the training, the report said.
The drill was completed in 100 minutes, according to local news service Newsis.
Thirty-eight U.S. troops, representing the 731st Air Mobility Squadron of the U.S. Air Force and the 607th Material Maintenance Squadron in Daegu, participated in the training Monday, according to South Korea's Kookbang Ilbo.
The C-17 can transport troops and cargo, including the 69-ton M1 Abrams main battle tank and other armored vehicles. The C-17 also can carry Apache helicopters, the AH-64, according to the U.S. Air Force.
Cpl. Lee Seong-hyun of South Korea's 601 Transportation Support Battalion told Kookbang Ilbo that the size of the C-17 took him by surprise.
On the training experience with U.S. soldiers, Lee said it was "not easy to communicate" at first because of the language barrier, but that while "working together with U.S. soldiers," the two groups were "able to quickly complete the training."
U.S. 731st Air Mobility Squadron Cmdr. Ryan Murray told the Kookbang Ilbo that the training was a good experience, noting that the exercise is the first of its kind involving a large U.S. large aircraft.
In March, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the two countries would maintain a "robust combined defense posture."
Austin also said that the interoperability between the two forces might be "the best in the world," according to the Pentagon.
"Our force remains ready to 'fight tonight,'" Austin said during a ministerial meeting in Seoul.