Although 2nd Infantry Division is in the Republic of Korea with a definite mission, many Koreans don't know much about the Warrior Division. That's why leaders of 2nd ID schedule good neighbor programs to promote strong bonds with the local communities.
For that very reason, 210th Fires Brigade invited 41 students from Hanbuk University to Camp Casey April 27. What makes this tour meaningful is that Hanbuk University is the only university in the city of Dongducheon and most of the students are from Seoul and other areas of Gyeonggi Province. This means that the students have never lived close to a U.S. Army Garrison and they don't have a clear understanding of what's going on inside of one.
"Camp Casey and Camp Hovey are so close to the local community, yet students don't know much about the U.S. Army," said Lee Bok Hee, the social welfare professor of Hanbuk University and one of the organizers for the event. She also added she believes many young students don't know the significance of the U.S. presence in Korea and that is why she invited them to come on this tour, to get a better understanding.
The tour started out with lunch at the Gateway Club to let students have a taste of American food. As they ate, they were introduced to the organizers of the event and later to Lt. Col. Richard Fromm, the Camp Casey garrison commander.
Before students went on to experience the highlight of the tour, they were given a presentation about 2nd ID's history, mission, and community relationship by Capt. Joseph Hong, the liaison officer for 210th Fires.
"The briefing you will be getting is the same briefing that the commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division got when he got on board," he said. This presentation allowed students to learn about the history of the 2nd ID and understand the reason why Division Warriors are in Korea.
The main tour began as soon as the briefing concluded. The next stage of the tour was the Close Combat Tactical Trainer where students experienced using equipment that Soldiers use during exercises and on the battlefield.
"Students will enjoy driving and shooting in different stations because it's like a computer game but with more detail," said Miller Trimuel, the site manager of CCTT.
"It will be hard to get them out once they get in there," he joked.
Students were broken into three groups to make the tour easy. Each group went around different simulators and had the chance to see what kind of equipment 2nd ID Warriors use.
"It was really exciting driving the tank and shooting with the weapon. I didn't know that the weapon would be this heavy," said Choi Jin Ju, a visiting college student.
By the end of the tour, students had more knowledge of the Warrior Division than they did before.
"I moved into Dongducheon just a few years ago and I didn't have a good image about the U.S. Army. I always thought it will be unfriendly inside but I found out today that I was wrong," said Yu Son, a sophomore majoring in social welfare.
This tour also helped 2nd ID strengthen their relationship with the local community.
"I also participated in the Shincheon river clean-up. Like that event, this one was designed to promote the good neighbor program and strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance," said Hong.