By Cpl. Kim, Hyo Joong, 2ID PAO KATUSA EditorJune 9, 2008
There is one special week for both KATUSAs and U.S. Soldiers who are tired from tough field exercises and heavy workloads. During this time, they can relax and have fun while building friendships with their comrades.
This week is KATUSA/U.S. Soldier Friendship Week.
Events kicked off with company- and battalion-level sports competitions, including soccer, Jok-gu, Tug-of-war, Ssireum wrestling, Kimajun and relay races. The teams, comprised of U.S. and KATUSA Soldiers, competed against one another to advance to the brigade-level championship. At last, only two teams remained from each section, and advanced to the finals.
"I can get in with the U.S. Soldiers whom I didn't know before while playing soccer with them as a team," said Sgt. Oh, Dong Hoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Division, the captain of the HHC soccer team. "I hope we would have more chances to strengthen our bonds."
On May 6, the second day of the event, Korean Forces Network held a big concert, sponsored by the Ministry of National Defense, at Schoonover Bowl, Camp Casey, which boosted the atmosphere of the festivities. It was the second year in a row that the KFN team gave a music show to Area 1 Soldiers.
The show started with Korean traditional performances such as Korean traditional narrative songs (Pansori), dancing and a traditional percussion quartet (Samulnori).
"I had great fun watching this show," said Pvt. Jonathan Holloway, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Bn., 9th Inf. Regt. "I think it is more entertaining to put together traditional and modern things."
As the modern performances got started, the atmosphere became highly elated. The concert included Korean pop singers, who made the spectators wild with enthusiasm. Many Soldiers went closer to the scene and enjoyed the hip hop rhythms of the Dynamic Duo, one of the most famous Korean hip hop acts.
"It was a very special opportunity for us to perform in a U.S. Army installation," said Choi Ja, one of the two members of Dynamic Duo. "We were worried that most U.S. Soldiers didn't know our music. However, we realized that it was an idle fear during the show. We could have fun, thanks to the enthusiastic audience."
Events culminated at Carey Gym and Schoonover Bowl May 8. The wave of Soldiers moved to the Schoonover Bowl to watch the division finals for the sports competition after the opening ceremony, which included the 2ID Tae Kwon Do Team, a traditional performance and belly dancing at Carey Gym. In the finals, Soldiers showed off their physical abilities and team spirit.
Family members and spouses were also invited to enjoy the final day. They were offered lunch and a tent that let them watch the games and shows under the shade, enabling them to watch their Family members get along with their comrades.
"It seemed that the entire event was well-prepared," said Lee, Hyun Joo, the girlfriend of Cpl. Chae, Min Suk, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th Fires Brigade. "I had a great time here having a nice meal and watching exciting performances. I felt more familiar with the U.S. Soldiers as I saw them playing with KATUSA Soldiers."
Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, 2ID commanding general, concentrated on the meaning of the KATUSA/U.S. Soldier Friendship Week during his ceremony remarks.
"This important event is an opportunity to enhance the relationship and friendship that Korean and American Soldiers have established for nearly six decades," Morgan said. "It also allows us to gain a better understanding of the Korean culture and traditions."