Leaders and Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division welcomed Korean brothers-in-arms to Warrior Country for a robust tour of major Division hubs conducted Feb. 12.
Around 65 cadets of the 67th Republic of Korea Military Academy class toured key facilities on Camp Red Cloud and Camp Casey during the visit, conducted just before the lunar new year holiday.
The tour began on CRC and was punctuated by a visit with Maj. Gen. Michael S. Tucker, the Division commanding general.
After Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army Soldiers escorted the cadets to the CRC chapel, the CG welcomed them to Warrior Country and delivered an overview of his Division's mission, heritage and history. The CG also conducted an informal officer professional development session, offering 12 pieces of advice for their personal growth and development as leaders. Tucker emphasized personal qualities such as honesty and integrity during his presentation.
In the spirit of the upcoming lunar new year holiday, appreciative cadets later offered the CG a gift of a traditional snack, or "han-gwa," for his advice and efforts.
The cadets seemed receptive to the general's message.
"I appreciate Gen. Tucker's instructive presentation," said Min Kyu Park, a cadet in the KMA. "I think I learned a lot from his advice. I didn't know well about U.S. Army before, but now I realized that there are many differences between ROKA and U.S. Army. I expect to learn more after the field trip. I'm excited."
After photographs and socializing, the cadets divided into two tour groups. One group visited facilities on CRC, while the other headed north for a visit of the Division's key operational hub.
Those who remained on CRC visited the Division operations center as well as the Division museum. The cadets took a keen interest in the World War sections of the museum as well as the Korean War exhibits. The allied cadets also received a briefing on the 2nd ID education system at the CRC education center and library complex.
Capt. Kyu Hyung Cho, ROKA support group officer of 302nd Brigade Support Battalion, delivered an informative presentation as cadets listened intently. Cho made the presentation especially relevant to the cadets. Many nodded with understanding as they listened to the presentation.
The cadets visiting Camp Casey enjoyed a dynamic series of presentations and a glimpse of innovative military technology.
Warriors of the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team took the lead during the cadets' tour of the Dongducheon facility.
Bradley fighting vehicles, Humvees, radars and simulators were just some of what the "Iron Brigade" Soldiers showed the cadets.
The demonstrations, which were conducted at the Story Barracks and the Close Combat Tactical Trainer facility, consisted of a series of presentations and practical demonstrations. The cadets had an opportunity to observe different vehicles and equipment.
"Today we've broken down the cadets into two groups, one here at Story Barracks and one at CCTT," Staff Sgt. Donald Melendy, the 1st HBCT master gunner and noncommissioned officer in charge of the activities, said during the event. "We allowed them to rotate around each station to be able to learn about each different vehicle and equipment along with them."
The ROK cadets were able to have an inside look at various equipment pieces. They also had an opportunity to go inside the fighting vehicles and Humvees and sit in each of the positions as well as learn how to properly hold various weapons and operate various radars.
The cadets learned how the American Soldiers trained in a virtual world at CCTT. They had an opportunity to train on weapon systems as well as the simulated vehicles in the facility like American allies.
Soldiers from each battalion within the Iron Brigade participated in the tour, each contributing to the portion relevant to their particular area of expertise.
"This was an opportunity for the ROK cadets to be able to actually see our American weapons," said Sgt. Maj. Russell K. Florian, the brigade operations sergeant major. "It was a great way to communicate with them as well, which is a major part in our overall mission in being here in the ROK."
The U.S. Soldiers also appreciated the experience of helping a valuable ally learn about the equipment, training and life of 2nd ID Warriors.
"This was a great experience for us as well as them because we're giving the cadets a better understanding of how the U.S. trains on this peninsula," said Melendy. "It keeps a good working relationship between the both of us as we continue to work hand in hand."
"By continuing to grow these types of relationships with our Korean counterparts, training alongside them and developing a mutual friendship, we will always be ready and stay ready to fight tonight," said Florian.
Participants on all sides described the tour as meaningful and valuable. Cadets maintained a high level of interest throughout the tour and seemed very appreciative of their allies' efforts.
"Even though we had too short time for the tour, I learned a lot," said Jae Young Choi, a cadet in the KMA. "It impressed me that 2nd ID has a long history starting from the First World War. I wish I could come back here later again, if I have a chance. I'll never forget today's tour."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16