YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (April, 19, 2012) -- Dripping sweat beads from their bodies, Korean Augmentation To the United States Army, or KATUSA, soldiers and U.S. Soldiers ran together. There were no barriers between them and they were not identified as KATUSA or U.S. Soldiers. They competed as members of one team playing together for their unit, for trophies and for glory.

The 2012 KATUSA U.S. Soldier Friendship Week began April 16, hosted by the Republic of Korea Army Support Group.

The week-long sporting events and culture sharing started off with an opening ceremony at Lombardo Field, highlighting a color guard demonstration, a performance by the 8th Army band, and a Korean honor guard drill. The audience couldn't resist giving rounds of applause.

Brig. Gen. Robin B. Akin, assistant chief of staff, J4, United States Forces Korea; deputy assistant chief of staff, C4, Combined Forces Command; deputy assistant chief of staff, U4, United Nations Command, gave opening remarks, motivating Soldiers to jump right into the competition. "This will be Friendship Week makes U.S. and KATUSA Soldiers one a very busy but great week with a lot of activities to strengthen the friendship between KATUSA and U.S. brothers and sisters in arms."

This year's KUSFW sporting events included soccer, softball, ssireum (Korean style wrestling), 5k team marathon, tug of war, team work challenge and all ranks relay. Each team was required to have a minimum number of KATUSAs, U.S. male and U.S. female Soldiers in each game, encouraging Soldiers to be cohesive. The KATUSAs and U.S. Soldiers didn't just develop their camaraderie through physical challenges.

A talent show, a concert by K-pop stars and cultural events such as making rice cake, kimbap and kimchi also broke down barriers and enhanced friendships, much to the delight of those participating. A total of nine teams consisting of the 176th Finance Battalion, 595th Maintenance Company, 1st Signal Brigade, Headquarter and Headquarters Company U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, 22nd Aviation Battalion, 65th Medical Brigade, 94th Military Police Battalion, 501st Military Intelligence Brigade and Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion participated in this year's competition.

Page last updated Fri April 20th, 2012 at 08:02