Area I BOSS learn history, life skills across Korea
CAMP RED CLOUD – The Area I Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers councils hosted the BOSS Across Korea trip, Nov. 13-16, which focused on life skills training while also visiting historic military sites throughout the peninsula.
“The life skills we are trying to focus on for this training relates mostly to the American and Korean alliance as well as the history,” said Pfc. Angela Rosellini, the Camp Red Cloud BOSS council president. “We are focusing a lot on the Korean War and how the U.S. forces kind of turned the tide of the war back in the 1950’s.”
Rosellini, 22 and a Chicago native, said the four locations, Busan, Daegu, Incheon and the Demilitarized Zone were strategic historical points to learn from “so we can see why it’s still an issue today and why our presence is still important right now.”
The trip began with 52 personnel, comprised of U.S. Soldiers, Korean Augmentation to the United States Army soldiers, and BOSS advisors, who met at Camp Red Cloud for a brief, where they also received instructions for a photo scavenger hunt, which proved challenging during the rainy weekend weather. Traveling south by bus to Busan, the group’s first historical stop was the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea, created for the fallen United Nation troops in the Korean War, of which 2,300 are interred there. The group was present for a flower basket ceremony and viewed the lowering of the United Nation’s flag and then continued to the Busan City Park.
The next day everyone was back on the bus headed to Daegu where they visited the Bulguksa Temple and had lunch at a Korean restaurant, which required the group to remove their shoes and sit on the floor next to a low laying table. After lunch, which was quite spicy for a few Soldiers who tried fresh, hot green peppers, the group visited the Nakdong River Victory Memorial Hall. The hall was built in memory of the victory of the defense line, which was the last fortification to protect the country during the Korean War after losing Seoul. After touring the indoor and outdoor exhibits, the group arrived to Apsan Park where many rode on a cable car to one of the peaks, which provided an overwhelming view of the city, even through the heavy fog.
On the third day, everyone was back on the bus and on their way to Incheon where they visited Korea’s China Town before going to Freedom Park to view a monument of U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur. The United Nations Command general led a successful amphibious attack in Incheon, Sept. 15, 1950, which led to retaking Seoul. The group toured the Memorial Hall for Incheon Landing Operation, which opened Sept. 15, 1984 to commemorate the brave lives of the men who fought in Incheon and also marked the second centennial of the port’s opening to foreigners in 1883.
Every evening concluded with a life skills training event which focused on finances, resiliency, wellbeing, fitness and leadership. The event also allowed the group to explore new foods, sites and friendships.
The final day began with a bus trip north to the DMZ where soldiers were able to tour Imjingak, a unification tourist spot which has many relics to remind visitors of the tragic conflict. After viewing a 21-ton bell, a derailed steam locomotive, and the Bridge of Freedom, built for 12,773 freed prisoners, the group returned to their buses to complete their 404-mile journey across the “Land of the Morning Calm.”
“It’s just a huge experience,” said Pfc. Jennifer Stewart, 24, and an Abrams’ system maintainer with D Company, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas. “We learned how South Korea was in need of help after North Korea attacked … and the how United Nations came in and helped.”
Stewart, of Dayton, Ohio, added the no-cost trip also allowed her to experience the culture, people, food and customs, which was important to her.
“We normally don’t get to leave very often,” said Pfc. Abraham Candel, an infantryman assigned to the United Nations Command Security Battalion – Joint Security Area at the DMZ. “This is my first time being away from the JSA.”
Candel said the trip was fun; he enjoyed interacting with other people and he looked forward to applying some of the financial skill learned during the trip. “I’m not very good with money, so I’m going to get my own budget plan to help myself out in the long run,” added the 20 year old from Galion, Ohio.
“It was very rewarding. Everybody needs life skills, not just in BOSS, but every Soldier needs to know life skills so it makes them not only a better Soldier but a better person,” said Spc. Davis Dinh, 20, and an infantryman with B Co., 1-9 Cav. Regt.
Dinh, a Fort Worth, Texas, native added he enjoyed the group’s atmosphere. “You wouldn’t be so comfortable with other soldiers from a PV1 all the way up to a command sergeant major. Everyone’s just so comfortable in the environment we’re in right now; I think that’s what makes it fun and at the same time we all respect each other and we all learned the same things.”
The trip concluded by handing out prizes for the scavenger hunt by the three BOSS council presidents in Area I and a coin presentation for Yong-Ae Black, the Camp Red Cloud BOSS adviser, for all her hard work in helping coordinate the event.
Rosellini added they hope to do similar trips in the future and to “expect to continue seeing life skills events from BOSS.”