US-ROK soldiers team up, make a difference in Uijeongbu
October 19, 2012
UIJEONGBU, South Korea - People say sharing is caring. Soldiers with the 2nd Infantry Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion and Republic of Korea Army's 2nd Logistics Support Command recently shared some of their time with the residents of a community welfare center in the Jang-Am district of Uijeongbu.
The event began when Lt. Col. Eric Walker, the HHBN commander, wanted to extend his unit's current involvement in community service by reaching out to some of the less-fortunate citizens of Uijeongbu.
The community welfare center, which has a close relationship with the R.O.K. 2nd LSC, is home to senior citizens lacking financial or family support, orphans and others who require assistance. However, the facility traditionally has unmet manpower needs. Lately, the R.O.K. 2nd LSC has been helping relieve those shortcomings.
When the U.S. and R.O.K. personnel arrived, they mixed in with the residents and immediately began engaging one another. The Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army soldiers helped to bridge language and cultural gaps not only between the U.S. soldiers and the residents, but between the two armies.
It was not long before the U.S. soldiers were dancing with the residents and the R.O.K. army soldiers began to sing.
"Watching U.S. soldiers made me realize that they sincerely enjoy helping those in need and feel good about it, and I also felt the American soldier's desire to be closer to their neighbors," said Capt. Choi Sung-hwan, an officer with the R.O.K. army 2nd LSC. "At first, I was afraid that the people at the community welfare center might be afraid of different looks of American soldiers, but they welcomed them with open arms."
Other soldiers found themselves drawn to the orphaned children, and quickly began playing together. Some consider the smiles of the children and soldiers as some small proof of the afternoon's success.
"I enjoyed the event and really enjoyed the smile on the children's faces in the orphanage" said Command Sgt. Maj. Ann M. Sydnor, the senior enlisted adviser in HHBN.
Members of the two military units were also able to strengthen their friendship as they helped the members of the welfare center and traded their field rations.
"I was surprised to see the American soldiers devour Korean rations, which are so different from that of the U.S. Army," said Cpl. Lee Hyung-yong, a senior KATUSA soldier.
The event was so successful that both units plan to continue with similar events every quarter.