(CNN) – If escalating tensions lead to war, how would American soldiers and their families protect themselves? CNN has an exclusive look at how U.S. Citizens in South Korea are preparing for the worst.
For Brianna Martinez, home is a place that’s still technically at war
The Martinez are an American military family currently based in South Korea where U.S. forces could one day be called to respond to threats from North Korea, a looming possibility that could put American civilians on the peninsula looking for safety.
When asked, “Do the girls understand what kind of emergency they’re practicing for?” Nicholle Martinez, mother and U.S. Military veteran said, “We told the girls that Korea was at war at one point so we come over here to defend what we fought for.”
The South Korea and the U.S. military regularly run join drills to maintain their readiness, but this drill is for American military families. It shows them how their soldiers could help them evacuate if tensions between North and the South turn into conflict.
Nicole and her family volunteered for the practice run that also helps the army prepare. Families learn where to assemble in case of an emergency man made or otherwise. They’re shown what they’ll be allowed to pack and how the military will keep track of them.
The drill sends them south. They spend two days hopscotching by bus and by helicopter between us installations before reaching a South Korean airfield and flying out.
In the event of a real threat the U.S. State Department would decide how many Americans and their families would need to evacuate. In order to get people off the peninsula quickly the army says it would likely send the families to safety right here in the region, places like Okinawa, Japan. Somewhere that families could take shelter before taking that much longer trip back to the states. Real world lessons for American children seeing a different part of the world
When asked, “Do your kids know the name Kim Jong Un?” Nicholle responded, “They don’t, we haven’t touched on that, but our military kids are. This is what they learn in school. They know they have to keep up with current events around the world.”
Raising a family in South Korea, Martinez who is a veteran says she feels safe. She doesn’t worry about a threat. She knows it’s possible. She wants her children to learn how to prepare.