For many Soldiers in the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, it's their first time away from home or outside the United States. Adjusting to a new culture can be difficult, but is made easier by having Korean Augmentees to the United States Army standing beside U.S. Soldiers in formation. KATUSA's get to learn about American culture and U.S. Soldiers, Korean culture as they both serve a common cause for peace on the Korean peninsula.
U. S. Army Garrison Humphreys hosted the KATUSA/ U.S. Soldier Friendship Week. KUSFW is intended to promote friendship and cross-cultural awareness. Soldiers throughout the Brigade participated in the week-long event April 14-17.
"Friendship week was a great opportunity to compete with U.S. Soldiers," said American born KATUSA, Pfc. Kim, Sung Hoon, from Evanston, Ill., a Republic of Korea army support office clerk, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd CAB. "It was a chance to develop personal ties with U.S. Soldiers that can last a lifetime."
Each battalion in 2nd CAB competed in various sporting events against one another and other units on Camp Humphreys, South Korea. Events included arm wrestling, Korean wrestling, soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball and a relay run. In addition to a little friendly competition, Soldiers had the chance to participate in Korean traditions and culture.
KUSFW began with an opening ceremony that included performances by the Korean Department of Defense honor guard and the 2nd Inf. Div. Band. Other events included demonstrations of Taekwondo and 'Samulnari,' traditional Korean percussion music.
"I chose to participate in the Korean wrestling event because I had never done it before," said Sgt. Karen Lonn, Wallace, Idaho native and a petroleum supply specialist assigned to Co. A., 602nd Aviation Support Battalion. "I figured the other events were common for U.S. Soldiers therefore, I wanted to embrace some of the Korean culture.
I believe my KATUSA counterparts just enjoyed seeing all of us compete."
As U.S. Soldiers learned about Korean culture, KATUSA's had a chance to not only learn about American sports culture, but also participate in the sport.
"I played soccer, volleyball and ran in the relay," Bundang, Kyungido native, Pfc. Hong, Myoungwon said, an automated logistics specialist assigned to Troop E, 4th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 6th Calvary Regiment. "Playing with American Soldiers definitely strengthened the ROK-US Alliance. I had the chance to talk and play with Soldiers from different units I normally wouldn't see.
The last day of KUSFW included a formal ceremony to recognize achievements. Area III ROK army support group commander, Maj. Park, Seung Gon, the President of the KATUSA Veteran Association, Mr. Pak Heung-chul, and 2nd Inf. Div., Deputy Commanding General (Support) Brig. Gen. Erik C. Peterson, were guest speakers at the event.
Winning teams were rewarded with trophies, bragging rights, and streamers for their unit guideons.
KUSFW is a yearly event and some Soldiers are already looking forward to next year.
"I hope to have more opportunities like this in the future, it was a lot of fun" said Hong. "I was really impressed to see U.S. Soldiers playing basketball, because they could 'dunk' the ball."