By CourtesyAugust 6, 2016
RODRIGUEZ LIVE FIRE COMPLEX, South Korea -- Soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division/Republic of Korea - U.S. combined division and its rotational elements highlighted the critical roles they play in strengthening the ROK-U.S. alliance, countering emerging threats and ensuring stability in the region, during Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning's visit to Camp Casey, Aug. 3.
Fanning's visit to the peninsula was the fifth stop on his trip across the Pacific that kicked off, July 25, with a focus on engaging with the Soldiers responsible for the Army's enduring and integral presence in the region.
"The first thing I've learned is the value of these engagements that the U.S. Army has with other armies. It's really remarkable to see when the Army does an exercise with another country, how much interaction there is with Soldiers from all levels, all the way down to the most junior enlisted Soldiers. And there's a tremendous value in that, both for our Soldiers and for the other military working with the United States," said Fanning.
Troops from 2nd ID/RUCD provided a hands-on and memorable experience for Fanning as they showcased the diverse missions performed by the combined division and the readiness created by its rotational warriors.
After hopping into a Multiple Launch Rocket System to join the crew for a simulated fire mission, he took a fast ride in a Bradley, experienced some emerging chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives capabilities, and rounded out the action by arming, flying, and firing from one of the Army's few remaining operation OH-58 Kiowa helicopters.
"He can come visit 2nd Infantry Division any time. I like it when they're hands on," said Maj. Gen. Theodore "Ted" Martin, 2nd ID/RUCD commanding general.
Martin pointed out that many of the troops Fanning interacted with were part of the division's rotational elements including the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, out of Fort Hood, Texas; the 1st Squadron, 17th Calvary Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery Regiment out of Fort Sill, Oklahoma; all serving a nine-month tour in Korea.
"Ours is a trained and ready force, with rotational units, and it's a concept that's working, and [Fanning] heard it from the commanders down to the sergeants and the Soldiers that it's working well along with the partnership with our ROK teammates. It's a concept that builds readiness," Martin said.
Fanning credited their readiness to what he witnessed on the peninsula to the remarkable commitment between the U.S. and ROK governments and militaries. He also credited the ongoing relocation of U.S. forces south on the peninsula as a win-win -- increasing readiness and modernization of facilities, in large part to the Korean government's remarkable contributions.
The Secretary will conclude his Pacific tour with a stop in Alaska.