CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea - After a year of planning, the Human Resources Co., Headquarters and Headquarters Batt., 2nd Infantry Division, opened its doors in early November 2018 as a pilot program unit, one of three in the entire U.S. Army, designed to test a different type of HR unit.
The HR Co. is the newest innovation for U.S. Army HR, but may be older than most may think.
"This new highly mobile, deployable training unit would actually be more aptly described as a return-to-form for Army HR," said U.S. Army Maj. Lawrence Torres, the HR Co. company commander and New York City native. "Prior to 2006, the widespread use of a dedicated HR Co. was the norm. As time progressed however, the modern notion of the HR unit came about, pushing this form of HR Co. into relative obscurity. The downside was that this shift came with a lack of manpower in garrison."
This new HR Co. operates in an unexpected way by handling multiple duties that aren't normally associated with a typical administration section.
"We don't do S-1 work," said U.S. Army 1st Sgt. William Branch, the Human Resources Co. first sergeant and a Macon, Georgia, native. "We have teams doing personnel accountability and casualty liaison training and we do postal work. HR Co. is meant to deploy and doesn't have a peacetime function other than training."
That training gives HR Co. Soldiers the ability to perform casualty liaison, personnel accountability and non-combatant evacuation operations in a wartime environment.
One of the important tasks the HR Co. is designed to do is split apart and fill slots around the Korean Peninsula when necessary.
"You get to support other missions throughout the peninsula," said U.S. Army Spc. Jaeheung Ho, HR Co. communications section leader and a Guam native. "One of the biggest advantages is that in peacetime, instead of the battalion getting swamped, we can do some of that work, like reception."
The task of building this company from the ground up has come with its own unique challenges.
"Whether it's getting personnel, equipment or vehicles, our goal is to build this company piece by piece," Branch said. "As we progress, we are able to face those challenges head on."
The HR Co. is still being built and the Soldiers and the command will continue to work over the coming years in order to shape the unit.
"It's not an easy task by any means to do this," Torres said. "In the end, I want to make sure we do right by the Soldiers because they deserve the best. We are going to do different with less, not more with less, just different."