SISSONNE, France -- A group of Soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division ROK-U.S. Combined Division traveled from the Republic of Korea to France for the U.S. Army Center of Military History's WWI Centennial week May 23.
The 2ID/RUCD and Eighth Army Best Warriors joined a small group of Soldiers from the division headquarters to embark on a weeklong tour of WWI battlefield sites.
These Warriors also joined groups of Soldiers from the 1st and 3rd Infantry Divisions to learn about each division's role during WWI.
The U.S. Army's Center of Military History and each division provided historians to guide the 2ID/RUCD Warriors during the commemorative events. The purpose of the centennial week was to educate current Soldiers about the unit's accomplishments, remember the sacrifices of the fallen Soldiers and honor the service of the Warriors who came before them.
Cpl. Jacob Bee, an infantryman from 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team (rotational), 3rd Infantry Division, and Naples, Florida native, is one of the Best Warriors who was selected to participate in the centennial week. Bee says it's the first time he's traveled to France.
"It was quite the honor. I can't be more thankful. Just walking the ground is an honor in itself," said Bee. "I didn't really know what to expect as far as just being in France as well as being exposed to the different historical events. It was quite the experience," Bee continued.
The centennial week began with an education day where historians guided the group through such battlefields as Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Wood and Soissons.
The culminating event involved 1ID, 2ID/RUCD and 3ID Soldiers participating in a memorial ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery.
"It's important that we be here a hundred years from when we fought in this engagement to remind our European partners and allies that we're still allied with them, even though we're serving over in Korea," said Lt. Col. Laura Bozeman, officer in charge of the 2ID/RUCD participants and Anchorage, Alaska native.
Warrior Soldiers also toured the Montfaucon Memorial, with its 234 steps leading up to the top of a tower with a scenic view of the surrounding battlefields.
Another site the Warrior Soldiers toured was the Douaumont Ossuary, which contains the skeletal remains of numerous fatalities below its memorial building. Those who visit the ossuary may see these bones as they peer through windows below the building. The ossuary also maintained a couple hundred steps leading up to a tower overlooking a cemetery of more than 15,000 markers.
You can check out our imagery from the centennial events at the following websites.