By Staff Sgt Cody HardingJanuary 20, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (Jan 20, 2012) -- Linda Odierno, wife of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, began her first visit to South Korea with a tour of Yongsan Garrison by Col. William Huber, the commander of Yongsan Garrison, and the wives of the top general officers on Yongsan and Camp Red Cloud, showcasing the facilities and opportunities for the community Jan. 20.
The day began with Mrs. Odierno meeting with Huber, Dee Thurman, the wife to Gen. James Thurman, the United States Forces Korea commanding general, Cheryl Johnson, the spouse of Lt. Gen. John Johnson, the commanding general of 8th Army, and Linda Cardon, who is married to Maj. Gen. Edward Cardon, the commander of the 2nd Infantry Division.
Once they were seated, Huber gave Odierno a brief history of the post and to showcase just how close Yongsan is to the heart of Seoul. For examples, he pointed to the Seoul Financial District across the bridge to the South and the Seoul Tower to the north.
"This city is growing all the time," said Huber. "And it is a privilege to be in the center of the city."
The tour made its first stop at the Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital to see the sort of facilities that are available to the community. Her visit made stops in the intensive care unit, the emergency response unit, pediatrics and others. Odierno expressed her pleasant surprise at the array of facilities in the building, paying special attention to the sophistication and variety the hospital held.
"It is reassuring to see the outstanding level of medical care available to our soldiers and families at the 121 hospital," Odierno said. "I was very impressed to see how technologically advanced the facility is and pleased to meet the talented and caring soldiers and civilians who work there."
From the hospital, Huber gave a driving tour of the residential areas on post, including the unaccompanied housing built in the 1950s to the new Burke Towers residence. Their trip then swung by the post exchange and Trent Warrior Resiliency Fitness Center before they stopped at the gallery.
Inside, Odierno was shown the various kiosks available to the Yongsan community, stopping to inspect and purchase some of the things on sale by the vendors before continuing on to the Yongsan Community Center. There, she enjoyed lunch and conversation with the military spouses of Yongsan, courtesy of Army Community Service and Lynn Omondi, the ACS Senior Master Resilience Trainer program manager.
"It was wonderful to meet you all, and this is why I am proud to be a military spouse," Odierno said. "Because of other military spouses like you."
After their lunch, the tour moved to Seoul American Elementary School to speak with Pamela Geller's fifth grade class. In the class, Odierno learned about their recent fundraiser for Toys for Tots, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and about the conquistadors through the lens of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War."
"I had the opportunity to meet the Yongsan Teacher of the Year and observe her in action with her 5th grade history class," said Odierno. "I really enjoyed seeing her dynamic teaching style and was impressed by her students understanding of complex ideas and concepts."
Odierno then stopped by the Yongsan child development center to speak with members of the staff before taking a tour with Claudette Mohn, the director of Child Youth and School Services on Yongsan. She ended her tour with a book reading alongside Mrs. Thurman, the wife of Gen. James Thurman, the United States Forces Korea commanding general.
The end of the tour led Odierno to 8th Army Headquarters, where she and her husband received a family brief from Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, the 8th Army commander. From there, the couple left Yongsan Garrison with a new appreciation and respect for the Yongsan Community.
"The leadership has done such a great job ensuring that the soldier and family support programs are the best the Army has to offer," said Mrs. Odierno. "My hope is that soldiers and family members take advantage of their unique opportunity to live in such an exciting location, full of cultural and historical places."