CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea - Senior leaders from U.S. and Republic of Korea armies rang in the grand opening of the new 2nd Infantry Division/Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Division and Eighth U.S. Army museum, June 10, at Camp Humphreys.
The museum, which relocated from Camp Red Cloud, contains artifacts and photographs rich in the division's and Eighth U.S. Army's history, some dating back to WWI.
"This building is perfectly named the 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth U.S. Army, Pacific Theater of Operations museum because it tells more than just the story of the United States forces in Korea," said Lt. Gen. Michael A. Bills, commanding general, Eighth U.S. Army and New York native. "It tells the story of how an ironclad Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance was formed.
"The stories of our past serve to inspire us in the present and for future generations," said Bills. "Military historians and museums preserve our military history and the legacy of our Army by knowing the story we can better understand ourselves and each other."
Preserving military history is a vital part of maintaining the prestige and tradition of U.S. servicemembers past, present and future.
"This is your museum, this is your history," said, Col. (Ret.) William Michael Alexander, Barnesville, Georgia native and 2ID/RUCD, Eight U.S. Army and Korea Theater of Operations museum director. "It's very fitting that we open the 2ID/RUCD, Eighth Army and Korea Theater of Operations museum on the 75th birthday of the Eighth Army.
"We tell the story, through the museum, of the Soldiers who've gone before us," said Alexander. "It's important that our young Soldiers, men and women, learn about where they came from. There's a lot to be proud of and we're building and maintaining those traditions that have sustained Soldiers for 240 years."
ROK army leadership who'd visited the old museum thought highly of the new museum.
"I think this is very impressive," said ROK army Brig. Gen. Kim, Tae-Up, deputy commanding general, ROK, Eighth U.S. Army and former 2ID/RUCD deputy commanding general. "I visited the old museum located in Camp Red Cloud, which was phenomenal, but like a dark cave. This new museum is very open and appealing to the eye."
Kim views the preservation of history and the purpose behind the new museum very highly.
"The people who keep and memorize the history will develop a very bright future," said Kim. "In that context, 2ID/RUCD and Eighth Army history make the future very bright."
The ceremony procession included a video that showcased division history and the museum's movement from Camp Red Cloud to Camp Humphreys, the singing of Eighth U.S. Army and 2ID/RUCD songs and guided group tours of the museum by Alexander, Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Donahoe, Eighth U.S. Army deputy commanding general-operations, and Lt. Col. Tomas Moore, a division liaison officer.
"I thought the ceremony was great, the video in particular was really good," said Susan Taylor, Army volunteer and Wilmington, Delaware native. "It captures the high points of what 2ID/RUCD has done. To be able to talk with those who've lived it, experienced and saw it with their own eyes, that generation is dying off. So, the best thing we can do is preserve their pictures, their words and their first-hand experiences."
The 2ID/RUCD, Eighth Army and Korea Theater of Operations museum is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Visit the 2ID/RUCD Flickr and DVIDS pages for more high-resolution imagery from today's event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2id/ and https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/2ID.