Area I celebrates Army’s 238th birthday
CAMP RED CLOUD – With the sun out, the grass green and the smell of grilled hot dogs and barbecue on the air, Camp Red Cloud opened its gates to its Korean neighbors June 14 for a festive celebration of the Army’s 238th birthday.
The Friday event saw members of the Warrior Country military community and several hundred of their off-post Korean neighbors gather on the post’s tree-lined Village Green for an evening of barbecue, live music, and a cake baked especially for the Army’s birthday.
Maj. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division, made welcoming remarks to the gathering.
“The only way we can truly celebrate this day is with our friends, neighbors and family,” said Cardon. “So I am truly grateful to everyone for their participation in our Army’s birthday party.”
“As a child I looked forward to my birthday,” he said. “But not because it was my birthday, because of the friends and family I would be able to spend time with.
“We are proud to be a part of this community-friendship-partnership for the last 60 years, and we are grateful for the support and kindness of our “South Korean neighbors, Cardon said.
Col. John M. Scott, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I, also welcomed the gathering, saying that the local Korean community was part of the post’s “extended family, our Uijeongbu family.
“And so I am especially glad that we are holding these celebrations here, on this camp, Camp Red Cloud, and in this city, Uijeongbu, home of our extended family,” said Scott.
“Because our camp, and our Soldiers and our civilians and our Korean employees, have been part of your city for a very long time,” he said. “We have been allies and neighbors for several generations.”
Uijeongbu Mayor Ahn Byung-yong struck a similar note, saying through a translator that Uijeongbu and the 2nd Infantry Division have had a relationship that spans decades.
“Years ago the U.S. military had to give aid to us,” said Ahn, “and now Korea has risen to the point that we are able to give aid to others. We owe that to the strong relationship we share with our U.S. neighbors.”
Musicians of the 2nd Infantry Division Band were joined by those of the South Korean army’s 1st Division Band.
Also performing were a B-Boy dance group, Fusion MC, and a K-Pop female group, The Play, performing classic American hits.
The evening’s music ended with the Korean singer Big Mama King, better known as BMK, who became famous after appearing on the Korean musical reality TV show “I Am A Singer.”
“My husband retired from the U.S. Army after 30 years of service, so I feel like I am singing for family tonight,” BMK said.
Korean visitors were also able to experience a traditional American style cook-out, as many groups on post grilled everything from hot dogs to barbecued pork.
“We were all excited to eat American-style barbecue,” said Uijeongbu resident Kim Hyun-jung, who came to the event with her family. “This is the first time we have been on post, and we are hoping to be able to come back many more times.”
Also attending the celebration were Gyeonggi Provincial Vice-Governor Choi Seng-dae and seven other local dignitaries.
Franklin Fisher contributed to this report.