PYEONGTAEK, Republic of Korea - For the first time since the transition from Uijeongbu to Pyeongtaek, Warriors branched out into their new surrounding community to meet some of the elders.
Soldiers from 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division met with residents of Song Hwa Senior Community Center in hopes to form a bond to carry forward with their new neighbors, Feb. 12.
This engagement is part of the ongoing U.S. Forces Korea Good Neighbor Program which got its start in 2002.
For 16 years, the Good Neighbor Program has strived to promote friendship, trust and mutual understanding between USFK service members and Republic of Korea citizens through volunteer service and activities.
Members of the 2ID/RUCD Civil Affairs section and the division chaplain presented the residents with several gifts including name brand cookies, chocolates, bread and nonperishable goods. The gifts were a way to pay respect to elderly members of the local community.
"We are very glad to have members of the 2nd Infantry Division visit here in person and listen to our thoughts," said Mr. Hwang, Seon Hyung, chief, U.S-Korea Cooperation Department of Pyeongtaek City. "Just as Chaplain said, deep concerns should only be resolved through constant communication and conversation, which leads to true understanding. As a chief of U.S-Korea Cooperation Department, I hope there will be many more occasions where both U.S. Soldiers and local residents gather in such a friendly environment like this one and get to hear each other's stories, to settle issues and promote friendship."
These ambassadors of the Warrior Division were given a new perspective on approaching local residents.
"It was a great opportunity for us to get to know our new neighbors," said Maj. James Forsyth, deputy chief of 2ID/RUCD civil military operations and Fort Myers, Florida native. "What was even better was that we had an opportunity to hear their thoughts. Sometimes certain communities get left out and their voices don't get heard. We are happy that we were able to provide an opportunity to hear the residents of this village."
The Good Neighbor Program is not only about bonding 2ID/RUCD and fellow USFK service members with the people of the Republic of Korea, but it also promotes true understanding between the two.