By 1st Lt. Austin Liu, 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion, 35th ADA Brigade Public AffairsJanuary 27, 2011
GWANGJU, South Korea - Sunshine accompanied by a rare rise of temperature above the freezing point marked the meeting between Republic of Korea Special Warfare Training Group Commander Brig. Gen. Kim Nae-san and 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Commander Lt. Col. William E. Darne here Jan. 21.
The purpose of the meeting between the two commanders was to reaffirm their commitment to continue the partnership between the ROK and U.S. unit.
"This is a good sign of our enduring friendship with 6-52nd ADA battalion as we start the New Year," said Kim at the sight of the melting snow.
"We feel extremely honored to be able to form a lasting friendship with such an elite unit in the Republic of Korea Army," Darne told Kim.
During the meeting, Darne and his staff received an in-depth briefing on the organization and the rich history of the Republic of Korea Army Special Warfare Training Group before exchanging gifts with the ROK general.
"I am very grateful for your unit's effort to provide language training to the ROK Special Force Soldiers," Kim said during the meeting.
Officers and noncommissioned officers from the 6-52nd ADA have been serving as volunteer instructors to teach English to the SWTG students since last year with excellent feedback.
In addition to language training, the battalion also regularly conducts friendship sports competitions with the SWTG during unit organization days.
Perhaps the most unforgettable event during the meeting was when Kim treated his U.S. visitors to a delicious serving of the famous ROK Army "chow." The simple, hearty, yet delectable lunch consisted of soup, rice and a special tuna sauce has been the stable meal for the ROK military for decades.
Kim expressed that it is important for the U.S. Soldiers to partake in the same meal that their ROK counterparts have enjoyed as a symbol of the ROK-U.S. friendship.
"I enjoyed our interaction with the ROK Special Force Soldiers and they have taught me so much about Korean culture," said Sgt. Janet Pritchard, one of the primary U.S. instructors. She is currently on her second tour here in Korea.
Sgt. 1st Class Eric Roberts agreed, "Each time we come here, they always treat us as if we are one of their own."
Roberts is also an instructor for the English training.
The 6-52nd ADA Battalion has the honor to be the only U.S. unit currently to have a permanent relationship with the ROK Army SWTG.
Darne said, "I have been to many different nations in my military career, and I can honestly tell you that I have never seen a stronger bond between a host nation and the U.S. military than here in the Republic of Korea."