CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea - The Army's first priority is readiness - ensuring our Soldiers have the tools and training they need to be lethal and ready to fight and win, as stated by Army Secretary Mark Esper.1
The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team "Bulldog," 1st Armored Division (Rotational Unit) has been deployed to the Republic of Korea since September 2018 as the sixth rotational brigade to support the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-US Combined Division.
"When we arrived here on the ground last October, I told 2ID (2ID/RUCD) we were ready to take over from Raider Brigade (1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division) and support our U.S. and ROK Allies," said Col. Marc Cloutier, Marlborough, Connecticut native and commander of 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
The Bulldog Brigade stayed busy maintaining their readiness posture during the first half of the deployment, conducting several combined small-arms and crew-served weapons ranges, field artillery gunnery ranges, sling-load and air assault exercises, and other training exercises to build the brigade's proficiency in warrior tasks, which enhances their ability to shoot, move, communicate, survive, and adapt in any contingency.
"Since our arrival, Bulldog Soldiers have shown just that. We have done a number of individual and crew served weapons ranges; fired our Artillery and Mortar crews; maneuvered our tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, and participated in a number of combined operations with our ROK Allies," said Cloutier. "Most notably, we were assigned 13 ROK officers to our brigade and battalion staffs to make us a truly combined staff. These officers just returned from a month-long training exercise at our National Training Center in California. These ROK officers and NCOs (non-commissioned officers) will become the continuity for the next rotational force, and that's a great thing for the 2ID/RUCD."
"Fight tonight" is a hallmark readiness phrase shared across the U.S. Army and allied militaries as if it were the new Army motto. However, training is not the only focus for Bulldog Brigade during its deployment. The rotational unit has circulated its personnel through several cultural awareness events across the Korean Peninsula to learn the customs and rich history of its ROK Allies.
"Our Soldiers are embedded in the social fabric here on the ROK," said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Oliver, a native of Detroit, Michigan, senior enlisted advisor for 3rd ABCT, 1st AD. "We've experienced multiple cultural awareness events since we arrived to include the Shinhan University Head Start program, multiple outreach events in the surrounding communities at Camps Humphreys and Casey, and continue to learn and develop ourselves alongside our KATUSAs (Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army) and ROK Army Soldiers."
The brigade has a multitude of cultural awareness and readiness training events planned for the remainder of their deployment. Future training opportunities will afford the rotational Soldiers the ability to increase interoperability with their ROK Army Allies and further immerse their Soldiers in Korean culture fostering the strong alliance shared between the combined force.
"Going forward, we have a great lineup in the next few months," said Cloutier. "We'll be on the ranges shooting gunnery, we'll be conducting more combined operations with our ROK Allies, and finally, we'll be preparing our Soldiers and equipment to return this summer to our families at Ft. Bliss, Texas. They have been the stalwarts of our brigade, supporting us every day in the execution of our tasks. We couldn't do this without their involvement."
1. Meyers, Megan. Army Times. "New in 2018: Army secretary lays out his priorities." https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2017/12/27/new-in-2018-army-secretary-lays-out-his-priorities/ (Dec. 27, 2018)