The 2nd Infantry Division is one of only a few active units born on foreign soil. Shortly after its activation in 1917 at Bourmont, France, the Indianhead Division fought in major battles, including helping to end any hopes of a German victory in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. The 2nd Infantry Division then moved to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where it served as an experimental unit that tested new concepts and innovations for the Army.
Fast forward 91 years. The 2ID, now based in Korea, has revisited its past in training the Soldiers of today for the fight of tomorrow. That training included the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, which trained with the latest in Army innovations during Operation Ulchi Freedom Guardian Aug. 18-22.
During the five-day exercise, HHC Soldiers tested a variety of new gear. Earlier in the month, they were issued new interceptor body armor and cold weather gear. Once in the field, many also worked with the new command post of the future, or CPOF, which is a state-of-the-art visualization and collaboration system. It provides an executive-level decision support system for situational awareness and collaborative tools for decision-making. This was the first time many Soldiers from HHC had the opportunity to test their merit with the new system in the fight of tomorrow.
The new system helped HHC play a vital role in the peninsula-wide exercise by reacting to simulated battlefield situations.
"This mission is important because it gives us a chance to deploy with new command and control systems," said Capt. Matthew Minear, commander of HHC, 2nd CAB. "It gives our Soldiers a chance to gain experience with their jobs for the future."
This exercise is the first of four before the year 2012, in which Korean military forces will be phased in as the main defense against opposing forces while U.S forces transition to more of a supporting role.
"We are still here and we are still relevant," said Col. Joseph A. Bassani, 2nd CAB commander. "We are committed here and ready to fight tonight."
HHC Soldiers contended with daily rain and extended work schedules. Many arrived days before UFG kicked off in preparation for the exercise to ensure they were ready for simulated contingencies on the peninsula.
"I've been conducting radio checks and disseminating the information to multiple outlets," said Pfc. Alex Bloch, an aviation operations specialist with 2nd CAB. "This is my third field training exercise here and I have learned so much with the new systems in just these few days."
With the new structure in place, both Soldiers and Korean Forces are learning their new and ever-expanding roles as they defend the peninsula. They continue to polish their war-fighting skills during simulated war-time events.
As military tours increase in longevity in Korea, Soldiers will better learn how to deal with possible conflicts in the future and be better equipped in their respective fields of expertise.