The US Marines F-35 squadron is training to fight through nuclear war against North Korea

  • The US Marines' F-35 squadron in Japan is training to fight under hazardous conditions created by chemical, biological, or nuclear attacks.
  • The Marines wear the highest-grade protective suits to train realistic battle maneuvers.
  • The US Air Force has also been training to take out North Korean nuclear sites.

As part of the "all options on the table" approach to North Korea often pushed by President Donald Trump and his cabinet, the US has been training the first operational Marine Corps F-35 squadron to fight through nuclear war if needed.

In mid-November, US Marine Corps pilots and support crew donned Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear to train for war fighting under the strain of chemical, biological, or radiological hazards.

The Marines wore MOPP gear level four, the highest grade of protective gear available to the US military, while executing a "hot refueling," or a fast-paced exercise where the pilot keeps the F-35's engines on while it takes on more gas, so it can take off in a moment's notice.

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A U.S.Marine Corps F-35B joint strike fighter jet conducts aerial maneuvers during aerial refueling training over the Atlantic Ocean in this undated picture released August 20, 2015. The Marine Corps' F-35B model can take off from warships and aircraft carriers and land like a helicopter. REUTERS/US Marine Corps/Handout THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
BEAUFORT, C - MARCH 08: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Major Ethan Howell, US Marine Corps, dresses in a flight suit and helmet worn to fly the F-35B Lightning II fifth generation multi role combat aircraft at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort on March 8, 2016 in Beaufort, South Carolina. UK personnel from the Royal Navy and RAF are embedded with the US Marine Corps on the F-35 operational training programme, based in Beaufort, South Carolina. This includes pilots and engineers, with numbers of UK personnel starting to grow in the build to the reforming of 617 Squadron (the Dambusters) in summer 2018. The Dambusters will reform at Beaufort before returning to the UK, to be based at RAF Marham. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
PATUXENT RIVER, MD March 7 : U.S. Marine Corps test pilot Maj. Richard Rusnok goes over his pre-flight check list in the cockpit of the F-35B Lightning II aircraft BF-4p prior to a test flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River on March 7, 2013 in Patuxent, MD (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
PATUXENT RIVER, MD March 7 : U.S. Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Matthew Kelly prepares to do a test flight in the F-35C Lightning II aircraft CF-1 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River on March 7, 2013 in Patuxent, MD (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
PATUXENT RIVER, MD March 7 : U.S. Marine Corps test pilot Maj. Richard Rusnok prepares for a flight in F-35B Lightning II aircraft BF-4p at Naval Air Station Patuxent River on March 7, 2013 in Patuxent, MD (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
FAIRFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: The first of Britain's new supersonic stealth strike fighters accompanied by two United States Marine Corps F-35B aircraft, arrive in the UK for the first time at RAF Fairford on June 29, 2016 in Gloucestershire, England. The F-35B Lightning II jet was flown by RAF pilot Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols on its first transatlantic crossing, accompanied by two United States Marine Corps F-35B aircraft from their training base at Beaufort, South Carolina. The combined US/UK team of aircrew and engineers are here in the UK to demonstrate just what the 5th generation state of the art aircraft can do, flying at the Royal International Air Tattoo and Farnborough International Air Show over the next few weeks. The aircraft are due to enter service with the Royal Navy and RAF in 2018. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Major Mike Rountree, (C) a Marine fighter attack training officer, shows naval flight students a U.S. Marine F-35B Joint Strike Fighter Jet during a roll-out ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, February 24, 2012. The B model of the new single-engine, supersonic fighter jet can take off from shorter runways and can hover and land like a helicopter, according to a military statement. Picture taken February 24, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Spooneybarger (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY)
The U.S. Marine Corps version of Lockheed Martin's F35 Joint Strike Fighter, F-35B test aircraft BF-2 flies with external weapons for the first time over the Atlantic test range at Patuxent River Naval Air Systems Command in Maryland in a February 22, 2012 file photo. According to media reports, Britain's government will on May 10, 2012 reverse plans regarding the fast jets that it is buying for future aircraft carriers, abandoning the conventional take-off version F-35C and instead purchasing a version with vertical take-off and landing, the F-35B. REUTERS/Lockheed Martin/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: TRANSPORT MILITARY POLITICS) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
A U.S. Marine F-35B Joint Strike Fighter Jet sits in a hangar after the roll-out Ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida February 24, 2012. The B model of the new single-engine, supersonic fighter jet can take off from shorter runways and can hover and land like a helicopter, according to a military statement. REUTERS/Michael Spooneybarger (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY)
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Hot refueling, as well as hot reloading, where F-35s take in more ordnance while the engines stay on, both represent tactics devised specifically with fighting in the Pacific in mind.

In the event of war with North Korea, Pyongyang's opening salvo would likely include nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon attacks via ballistic missiles on US bases in Japan. Although the US maintains missile defenses, it's not safe to assume the bases would make it out unscathed.

For that reason, the Marines' F-35B, which can take off and land vertically, needs flexibility to improvise, land on makeshift runways, and turn around to keep fighting in minimal time.

Training in MOPP gear assures that the pilots and crew won't be caught off guard when the atmosphere becomes hazardous with chemical, radioactive, or biological agents.

"It's important to practice in MOPP gear because the Marines do'’t get many opportunities to wear this on a daily basis, so in the instance where they do have to wear MOPP gear in a real-life scenario, it's not going to be a shock or surprise to them of how they are going to operate," Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Martin Aldrete, a maintenance controller with VMFA-121, said in a statement.

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FORT LEONARD WOOD, MO - APRIL 19: U.S. Army soldiers participate in MOPP gear exchange, their final mission of the day, in which they remove all their MOPP gear except protective mask and dress in fresh gear during training April 19, 2003 at Fort Leonard Wood?s Chemical School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Soldiers from all branches of the Armed Forces, civilian first responders, and some foreign military attend the chemical school for training in various types of chemical detection and survival through several courses including practice in a hot zone where actual toxic agents such as the Sarin and VX nerve agents. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
FORT LEONARD WOOD, MO - APRIL 19: U.S. Army soldiers participate in MOPP gear exchange, their final mission of the day, in which they remove all their MOPP gear except protective mask and dress in fresh gear during training April 19, 2003 at Fort Leonard Wood?s Chemical School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Soldiers from all branches of the Armed Forces, civilian first responders, and some foreign military attend the chemical school for training in various types of chemical detection and survival through several courses including practice in a hot zone where actual toxic agents such as the Sarin and VX nerve agents. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
KUWAIT--Marine Lance Corporal, Troy Webb, Echo Company, 2nd Battalion Infantry, 5th Marines, stretches out his arms and waits for a Staff Sargent to inspect his MOPP suit, or NBC suit,that will be worn in case of a chemical, nuclear, or biological attack from Iraq. The suit is an unfourtunate camo green instead of desert beige that comes with large rubber over boots and rubber gloves. The upcoming weather in the region will get up and over 110 degrees, it gets very very hot inside of these suits. To complete MOPP level four suit, top level, Marines don their gas masks, then tie down the hood and seal it, wear the rubber gloves, put their kevlar helmet on and also wear their kevlar, bullet proof protective gear. All that plus factor in all weapons. The suits have a shelf life once taken out of their protective vacuum sealed bags of 30 days, a strong indication that action is near. If 'slimed,' with a chemical, bio, or nuke attack, the Marines, (NOT SOLDIERS) will be quickly moved to a decontamination site, carefully cleaned off and issued another suit. Over one thousand Marines are in this camp called a TAA camp, Tactical Assembly Area, located only 30 miles from the Iraqi border. THE DENVER POST/ ANDY CROSS (INDICATOR GIVEN FROM CAPTAIN I'M WITH SAID THAT THIS WAS A GOOD INDICATOR OF VERY NEAR FUTURE ACTION) (ALSO, WILL BE LEAVING THIS CAMP TOMMORROW MORNING BACK TO LSA CAMP, FOR A FEW DAYS THEN COMING BACK HERE TO THE TAA CAMP, THEN ON TO DA CAMP FOR 48 HRS, THEN OVER THE BORDER, YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE BUT, I THINK ACTION INTO IRAQ WILL BE SOON, THANKS AC) (Photo By Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
U. S. Marines Cpl Brian Warner (left or front) of Denver, CO and Lance cpl. Sean Quinlan of Windsor, CO wear their MOPP (Mission Oriented Protected Posture) suits. The U.S. along with members of the German and Czech Republic military make up the Combined/ Joint Task Force Consequence Management unit at Camp Doha in Kuwait. (Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post) Members of the Czech Republic Army wear a variety of NBC protective gear. The Czech's along with members of the German and U. S. military make up the Combined/ Joint Task Force Consequence Management unit at Camp Doha in Kuwait. or - (Photo By Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
KUWAIT - FEBRUARY 15: (NEWSWEEK AND US NEWS OUT) U.S. Marines from the 3rd battalion, 4th Marines go through a mock decontamination exercise February 15, 2003 during a simulated moving attack, known as a MOPP exchange, at the Command Operation Center in northern Kuwait approximately 20 miles south of the Iraqi border. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
US soldier wearing MOPP-4 anti-chemical suit & aiming Stinger missile perched on shoulder during Bright Star '90 field exercise. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/US Army/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
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The military's best planes and pilots are all training to take out North Korea

But the Marines' F-35 squadrons aren't alone in training for a possible confrontation with North Korea. In October, 2016 Vermont Air National Guard pilot Adam L. Alpert detailed his experience flying a simulated F-35 strike mission against targets in North Korea.

Alpert said that instead of sending 60 to 75 servicemembers into the air above North Korea aboard F-16s, F-15s, logistics, and surveillance planes, US Air Force planners managed to work out a mission where just four pilots in two F-22 Raptors and two F-35s take out North Korea's main nuclear infrastructure and leave unscathed.

Additionally, a citizen in Missouri intercepted US Air Force B-2 Spirit bombers communicating over radio and discussing a training mission where they were attacking targets in North Korea.

While the US tries to steer clear of war with diplomatic solutions to the North Korean crisis, widespread US military movements and planning show that US is preparing for the worst.

NOW WATCH: Here are the dangerous and intense methods the US Navy uses to keep its warships supplied at sea

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SEE ALSO: Listen to audio of B-2 pilots practicing a bombing run on North Korea

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