CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea - A great way to learn about a culture is to immerse yourself in it. Korea Military Academy cadets set out to do just that with the Warrior Division, Feb. 12-20.
Eighty KMA cadets began their winter internship with a welcome brief from Brig. Gen. Kim, Yong Chul, Gangwon-do native, deputy commanding general, Republic of Korea 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, at Pacific Victors Chapel, Feb. 12.
"The combined division is comprised of both Republic of Korea Army and U.S. Army Soldiers working in staff positions, as well as in subordinate units," said Kim. "During your short stay with the 2nd Infantry Division, you should focus on your English, make friends, and when you return to your school, you have those friends to reach out to."
Cadets looked forward to taking full advantage of the unique experience.
"Before this internship, I didn't have many opportunities to learn about different military terms in English and this allows me to practice having conversations in English," said Officer Candidate Ha, Jin Sol, KMA cadet, Seoul native. "I look forward to learning more about American culture throughout the week."
The internship program, first established in 2016, allows new cadets to work side by side with their American counterparts while practicing English, broadening their understanding of combined operations, experiencing a foreign culture, and ultimately creating new bonds.
"I want to enhance my English skills and gain a better understanding of the ROK-U.S. Alliance," said Officer Candidate Hwang, Su Ji, KMA cadet, Gyeonggi-do native. "I want to experience first-hand the work I'd be doing as an officer. It's a great chance to learn about the U.S. military and compare it to the Korean military."
Col. (retired) William M. Alexander, Barnesville, Georgia native, 2ID Museum director, briefed the cadets on the long-standing ROK-U.S. partnership.
"In 1882, under King Ko Jong, the first treaty of friendship (Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce and Navigation) was signed between Korea and the United States with President Chester A. Arthur, our 21st president," said Alexander. "The United States and Korea have been teammates for a very long time, longer than the 2nd Infantry Division has been in existence."
With a few last words of wisdom from Alexander, the orientation concluded and the cadets joined their respective sponsors to embark on a week-long journey of training and mentorship with the Combined Division.