2ID celebrates Army Birthday
CAMP RED CLOUD, Korea -- Several hundred local Korean citizens joined Republic of Korea and U.S. Soldiers and families on Camp Red Cloud in Uijeongbu today to celebrate the U.S. Army's 237th birthday.
The 2nd Infantry Division opened its gates and invited local civilians as part of its Good Neighbor Program aimed at promoting friendship and understanding between the division's Soldiers and the surrounding community.
"The only way we can truly celebrate this day is with our friends, neighbors and Family," said Maj. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, 2ID commanding general. "So I am truly grateful to everyone for their participation in our Army's birthday party."
Gyeonggi Provincial Vice-Governor Ye Chang-geun and five local mayors joined Cardon, not just in celebrating the Army's birthday, but also celebrating the relationship the division enjoys with the local populace.
Mayor Ahn,Byung-yong, mayor of Uijeongbu, where the division headquarters is located, spoke to the crowd about how long the city and the division have had ties.
The 2nd Infantry Division arrived in this area in 1953, and the city of Uijeongbu was founded in 1963, said Ahn. Uijeongbu and 2ID have had a great relationship for a long time, and years from now this generation's great-grandchildren will benefit from the relationship that exists today.
Mayor Oh Sea-chang, mayor of Dongducheon, where the majority of the division's 10,000 troops are located, named June 14th as Army Birthday Day in the city of Dongducheon.
"Throughout the last 62 years, the 2nd Infantry Division has served to defend our nation and our families," said Oh. "Therefore, Soldiers in Dongducheon are our friends and neighbors. Dongducheon City cordially asks our citizens to celebrate the 237th Army Birthday on 14th June 2012."
After the official ceremony was completed, the entertainment began.
Following a demonstration by the 2nd Inf. Div. Taekwondo Team the 2nd Inf. Div. Band was joined by the ROK Army's 28th Division Band as the main event for the night.
The evening also had a special musical guest who was kept secret until she took the stage, stunning the local crowd. Jin, Mi-ryeong, whose career spans 13 albums and three feature films, finished the night with a short concert.
"It is a pleasure to enjoy such a great relationship with 2ID and be invited to be a part of their birthday celebration," said Jin, who became a supporter of the division through her father who was a colonel with the ROK army.
Local Koreans were also able to experience a traditional American style cook-out, as many groups on post grilled everything from hot dogs to barbecue pork. Many Koreans use charcoal grills similar to ones used in America, but the traditional Korean dishes are significantly different than those offered at the birthday.
"This is the second time we have been able to come on post for an event like this, and we were looking forward to eating the American-style food," said Pak, Hyun, a Uijeongbu resident who came to the event with her family.
The division also held a competition to see who could prepare the best birthday cake. Cooks from Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion won the competition, and all the cakes entered were served at the birthday.
Cardon was pleased to see Koreans and Americans enjoying the celebration together.
"Events like this also remind us how fortunate we are for the opportunity to live and work alongside the great people of Korea," said Cardon. "We are proud to be a part of this community and the best way for us to get to know one another better is to enjoy great events like this together."
The 2nd Infantry Division is the only permanently forward deployed unit in the U.S. Army. In addition to the open-post event, the division hosted birthday celebrations at its brigade locations in Camp Humphreys and Camp Casey, as well as on the 38th Parallel with the Joint Security Administration.