CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- Many Soldiers know what it is like to be stationed in the Republic of Korea but only one unit knows what it is like to be deployed to Korea. The land of the morning calm welcomed Soldiers from the 4th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment much the same way it welcomes all the Soldiers that have served on her shores; with the promise of new friendships and a unique training environment.
Soldiers assigned to 4th ARS, 6th Cav. Regt., marked their historic nine-month deployment with a unit colors uncasing ceremony Oct. 18. The ceremony is an Army tradition that symbolizes the beginning of the squadron's deployment to the Korean peninsula in support of the 2nd Infantry Division's mission to deter aggression and the U.S. Department of Defense's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.
"The ARS is a rotational force that is part of the Army's strategy to get regionally aligned rotational forces," said Col. Walter T. Rugen, the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade commander. "They are bringing a great scout, security, and reconnaissance capability in addition to a fires capability that is tremendous."
The squadron also brings with it 30 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters that are designed to conduct armed reconnaissance, target acquisition and designation, command and control, and light attack and defense air combat missions in support of military operations. This addition will now bring the 2nd CAB's aviation capabilities back up to full strength for the first time since 2008.
"Our deployment here is a win-win on two fronts," said Maj. Ryan Guthrie, the 4th ARS-6th Cav. Regt., executive officer. "One, we are bringing a fully-trained-operationally-ready unit to the Korean peninsula that is ready to fight tonight in support of our higher headquarters. On the other hand, we will leave the peninsula with a force that is even better trained and has more experience which will enhance the force."
Soldiers have the opportunity to conduct a unique training they wouldn't experience in the U.S. The 4th ARS, 6th Cav. Regt., will experience first-hand combined training opportunities with ROK Army counterparts, along with the challenges specific to the terrain and environment in Korea. Soldiers will be better prepared for any future threat that America calls them to action for.
"Traveling out of the America and into the Korean peninsula offers challenging experiences both operationally and tactically," said Guthrie. "It will be a great opportunity for our pilots as well as our support staff and ground crews to enhance themselves through exposure to the Korean culture."
The uncasing of the unit's colors marks the beginning of the unit's mission here in Korea. One thing is clear - ttheir presence makes the 2nd CAB a more agile force capable of deterring aggression and defending the Republic of Korea, if called upon.
"I have complete faith in the ability of our Soldiers to take on the challenges we will face during this rotation," said Lt. Col. Brian Watkins, commander of 4th ARS-6th Cav. Regt., "They have demonstrated that they are a 'team of teams,' masters of the fundamentals, and focused on providing lethal and agile aviation support enabling successful ground combat operations in the most demanding operations."
Other than 4th ARS, 6th Cav. Regt., providing training support, one Soldier talks about building resiliency and wanting to be more culturally aware in support of forming a better relationship with Republic of Korean people.
"I enjoy the culture so much here and the food is great," said Sgt. Marcus D. Snow, from Newton, Miss. and a crew chief assigned to Company B, 4th ARS-6th Cav. Regt., "Other than focusing on training, I can learn more about the people of Korea."
Families can rest their heads on their pillows at night knowing that their Soldiers may be away for the next nine months, their separation is for a valuable mission that keeps others safe.