SUWON, Republic of Korea -- Decades of proud history and decorated leadership resonated with those in attendance, inspiring pride and esprit de corps to those who have donned the Indianhead patch, both past, and present.
The 2nd Infantry Division 101st Anniversary Ball commemorated more than a century of combined heritage and rich history at La Vie D'or Resort and Country Club Oct. 25.
In opening remarks, Maj. Gen. D. Scott McKean, San Jose, California native, and commanding general, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, highlighted the significance of the celebration.
"Today, we celebrate 101 years of our division being combined with other services around us, combined with Marines in Haute Marne, France during World War I, to our current partnership with the Republic of Korea Army," said McKean. "We have 60 ROK Army officers as part of our division staff and more than 2,000 KATUSAs (Korean Augmentations to the United States Army) serving in our ranks, making our division both lethal and effective in defending the Republic of Korea."
The Warrior Division's prestigious lineage boasts 40 Medal of Honor recipients and more than 20 campaign participation credits since it's organization on Oct. 26, 1917 at Bourmont, Haute Marne, France during World War I. This marked the only time U.S. Marine Corps generals commanded an Army division in U.S. military history.
The division moved to Ireland during World War II as part of Operation Overlord, the Normandy invasion. During the Korean War, 2ID was the first unit to reach Korea directly from the United States. The division trained and integrated ROK forces into their ranks, a partnership that was further solidified in 2015 with the activation of 2ID/RUCD.
Col. (R) William M. Alexander, Barnesville, Georgia native, and 2nd Infantry Division Association president, paid tribute to two great Warriors lost this year: Gen. (R) John N. Abrams, a native of Cumberland, Maine, and former commanding general, 2ID; and Lt. Gen. (R) Thomas S. Vandal, Proctorsville, Vermont native, and former commanding general of both 2ID and Eighth Army- Korea.
"The second focus is on our division campaign theme of being an officer-led, NCO-run organization," said McKean. "We are fortunate enough to have Command Sgt. Maj. Richard E. Merritt as our guest speaker. He is the embodiment of what a NCO should be and after 35 years of service, this is his final official Army event so we are going to honor him tonight."
Command Sgt. Maj. Phil K. Barretto, Aiea, Hawaii native, and 2IDRUCD sergeant major, introduced Command Sgt. Maj. Richard E. Merritt, Lucasville, Ohio native, and Eighth United States Army-Korea sergeant major, who highlighted the division's history in Korea and emphasized the importance of quality leadership.
"The standards you set today are the standards Army leaders of tomorrow will live by," said Merritt. "Your discipline ensures 2nd Infantry Division is always set and ready."
Merritt received a golden tomahawk for outstanding leadership, support and dedication to the Warrior Division.
As the celebration drew it's close, members of 2ID/RUCD were left with the proud memory of Warriors from the past and present that continue to pave the Indianhead legacy for decades to come.
For more imagery and video of the 101st Anniversary Ball, please visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/2id/albums/72157701295592231 and https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/2ID.