By CourtesyMay 2, 2019
Nestled in the Soebaek mountain range of South Korea, Soldiers of the United States Army and Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) came together in faith to celebrate Easter Sunday on the Camp Carroll Forward Operating Site (FOS).
The Unit Ministry Team (UMT) of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment conducted the Easter Sunday Service as a part of a week-long visit to provide religious support to the Soldiers on the site.
The service was held by Chaplain (Capt.) Teogenes Bernardez and Religious Affair Specialist, Pfc. Esperanza Gomez, while 2nd Lt. Kelsey Burns, from D Battery, 2nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment (THAAD), led the group in singing Easter hymns. US and ROKA Soldiers came together to celebrate a Joint Protestant Easter Sunrise Worship Service at the site's boardwalk.
"I enjoyed the service, I felt the importance of togetherness, unity, harmony, and love," said Staff Sgt. Ki-Whan Nam, ROKA Medical NCO. The ROKA personnel on site took great pride in reminding visitors that Camp Carroll FOS is a combined US-ROKA site.
Sgt. Justin Douglas, a squad leader in D-2 THAAD, said "I really enjoyed the Easter Service we held with the ROKA. We work and talk to them every day and being able to come together for the Easter Service was a great experience. I believe things like this strengthen the bond and understanding between us and shows that although we come from different backgrounds and cultures, we are still all connected by our faith, hopes, and dreams."
The UMT proceeded to Camp Carroll's helipad five days before Easter, to fly out to Camp Carroll FOS, which is only accessible via helicopter. "It's a rare opportunity to have a Chaplain on ground," said Capt. Alexander Hoffman, as Soldiers boarded the weekly airlift taking them to the site. The geographic separation provides both challenges and opportunities for the US and ROKA personnel on site to strengthen a bond that harkens back to the days of the Korean War.
During their stay, the UMT visited Soldiers at their work stations, dining areas, and living quarters, providing counseling and presence ministry. Spending the week with the Soldiers at Camp Carroll FOS gave the UMT a better understanding of the Soldiers and their Families' challenges and stresses associated with the personnel rotations to the site.
U.S. Army Story written by: by: CH (Capt.) Teogenes K. Bernardez, 2-1 Air Defense artillery Battalion Chaplain, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade