Sixty U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Soldiers, civilians and Family members toured the Demilitarized Zone, to learn more about the history between North and South Korea, April 23.
The trip was sponsored by the K-6 Korean American Friendship Association, who are members of the Garrison Good Neighbor Program.
"The purpose of this trip is to show appreciation to the U.S. service members, who defended the freedom of the Republic of Korea," said Cho, Han-Ku, the president of K6-KAFA. "The United States of America helped our country since the Korean War and from then on, we made a remarkable economic growth because of their help. We will never forget this."
The Dora Observatory was the first stop on the visit. This facility is the closest to North Korea, positioned at the top of the Dorasan (Mount Dora), on the South Korean side of the 38th parallel and is directly across from the DMZ.
The group viewed the North Korean village and the Kaesong industrial complex [administrative industrial region of North Korea], where South Korean companies manufactured products with North Korean laborers. The complex was established in 2004, to increase cooperation; however, in 2016, South Korea suspended operations due to North's missile launch and nuclear testing.
"This trip was a great opportunity to learn about Korean culture and history, and the conflicts they have endured a long time ago, with no resolve to date," said 1st Signal Brigade Pvt. Dalton Richardson, who has been stationed in Korea for four months. "Maybe, one day, we will see the end of this, but I think we should maintain this for the peace."
After the observatory tour, the group visited the Third Tunnel of Aggression, which was named by South Korea, who considered it an act of aggression on the part of North Korea. It is one of four known tunnels built by the North Koreans in the pursuit to invade Seoul, before it was discovered in 1978. The third tunnel is under the border between North and South Korea and nearly one mile long. The group toured and walked a quarter of a mile down a long steep incline to view the interior walls of the tunnel.
Jung, Byung-Hui, K6-KAFA vice president, said tours like this bring people together to learn and create new friendships.
"There are some people demonstrating against the US, but we want you to know that most Koreans appreciate the U.S. military's presence in Korea," Jung said. "We are appreciative and grateful for you."
For more photos, please go to the link below: