CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea- The last remaining permanently forward-stationed division in the U.S. Army welcomed new leaders during Transition Week July 22 through 25 at Camp Red Cloud.
Every summer, the 2nd Infantry Division hosts a week-long seminar designed to explain the division’s mission and its relationship with Republic of Korea to brigade commanders, command sergeants major, division primary staff and their spouses.
Military and government officials from both the ROK and U.S. briefed the incoming personnel on the division’s mission.
Army Gen. James D. Thurman, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command and Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, commander, Eighth Army, talked about the importance of the ROK-U.S. Alliance. Thurman emphasized the importance of 2nd Infantry Division’s role and how crucial it is for the division to be ready to fight tonight.
Thurman and guest speakers gave their definition of the division’s expression of fight Tonight, which refers to the division’s commitment anytime or anywhere to fight alongside our Korean partners in combined training, deterring security threats and ensuring security on the peninsula.
Republic of Korea Army guest speakers discussed the importance of continuing to strengthen the alliance. From the impact of U.S. support to partnership efforts, ROK Army presenters gave their perspective of the true meaning of the 63-year alliance.
Speakers from the division support staff briefed topics that included training exercises, the division battle rhythm, new equipment, communication synchronization, and the command sponsorship program.
The briefings provided an overview of the 2nd Infantry Division’s mission and future plans to continue the unit’s success.
This year marks the 63rd anniversary of the ROK-U.S. Alliance, and its importance was highlighted during the seminar. Over the past six decades, the two militaries have developed a strong bond, enhancing the relationship between both nations.
Initiatives like the Head Start Program and the Good Neighbor Program, were recently established to enhance the cultural understanding of Army Soldiers by learning about the Korean language, culture and history with the assistance of local universities and the Gyeonggi Province Government.
“I believe the Good Neighbor Program is a great way in getting to know our Korean neighbors,” said La’ Sandra Wise, wife of Lt. Col. Malcolm Wise both Hinesville, Ga., natives from Company A, Headquarter, and Headquarters Battalion. “By inviting our Korean friends to the 2nd Infantry Division’s special events and our military families in attendance at their ROK and local hosted events, together we are able to share and learn from one another while appreciating our cultural differences.”
Furthermore, Soldiers and their Family members are able to go on culture tours sponsored by the Gyeonggi Provincial Office throughout the year free of cost.
“We want to support Soldiers while they’re stationed in Korea and help build a stronger relationship between U.S. Forces, Korea, and [ the citizens of Gyeonggi Province],” said Lee Kang-hee, the director of the Gyeonggi Provincial Office Military Cooperation Division during a Korean culture tour April 30.
During Transition Week, leaders learn about other programs that offer care and support to Soldiers and their Families, including support groups that can assist them while living and working in Korea. Programs, such as Army Community Service, Red Cross, Morale Welfare and Recreation and Family Readiness Group were mentioned during the seminar.
By taking care of soldiers and families, the division can successfully focus on the mission. By focusing the force, the division can plan for fielding new equipment and future training events that will maintain the edge on the battlefield.
With information on what’s ahead, the spouses of the leadership felt Transition Week was very helpful in gaining understanding 2nd Infantry Division’s mission and how each of them contribute to the Alliance’s success.
“It showed a real perspective on the relationship the 2nd Infantry Division has with our host nation’s army and the Korean civilian leadership,” said Wise. “It was nice to have representation on both sides. Together they made it clear they are committed to keeping the relationship strong and making our U.S. Soldiers and their Families feel welcomed.”
The 2nd Infantry Division continues to train and partner with its ROK army counterparts, the enduring mission of the 60-year alliance remaining ready to fight tonight.