Friendship week strengthens ROK/U.S. alliance
USAG YONGSAN, South Korea - The USAG Yongsan Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization & Security, in coordination with USAG Yongsan Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Republic of Korea Army Support Group, Community Relations Office and Area II Tenant Units, put together a successful Korean Augmentation to the United States Army/U.S. Soldier Friendship Week during the week of 14-16 April 2014.
The three day-long event brought U.S. and KATUSA Soldiers together for various athletic competitions, social and cultural events to foster stronger relationships and educate U.S. Soldiers about their Korean hosts.
The event was also open to U.S. and KATUSA Soldiers, families, selected members of the ROK Army, Good Neighbor Program members and local government officials.
The event officially kicked off on Monday afternoon at Lombardo Field where the opening ceremony was held in presence of key officials of Area II, including Brig. Gen. Chris R. Gentry, Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Sustainment, Col. Michael E. Masley, garrison commander, USAG Yongsan, Col. Lee, Suk Jae, commander, Republic of Korea Army Support Group, Lt. Col. Kim, Kyung Tae, commander, Area II RSG.
After the keynote speech, the Best Friend Award was presented to outstanding nominees of each unit, followed by various performances including demonstration of Korean martial arts by Soldiers from ROKA Special Forces and rifle drill by the United Nations Honor Guard.
The next day began with 5-km team run and soccer preliminaries in the morning, followed in the afternoon by cultural events, including traditional games, Zumba dance and making Korean traditional foods. The highlight of the day was a super-sized bibimbap mixed by representatives from each command, allowing an audience of more than 500 people to experience the taste of the local delicacy.
Among many sporting competitions, a joint team of U.S. and KATUSA Soldiers from the 1st Signal Brigade, 41st Signal Battalion and AFN won the highlight of the week, the soccer competition on the last day of the event and brought the championship trophy for the second year running.
Members of 41st Battalion also won the talent show with a comic dance medley, doubling the joy and exhilaration for the Signaleers.
Other team sports held included group jump rope, all ranks relay races and tug of war.
The overall unit champion of the 2014 KATUSA/U.S. Soldier Friendship Week was 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, followed by 65th Medical Brigade.
As KATUSA Friendship Week concluded, participants enjoyed the entertainment show finale at Collier Community Fitness Center, where popular local celebrities including Davichi, MOA and Brown Eyed Girls delivered performances that both U.S. Soldiers and KATUSAs thoroughly enjoyed.
During individual unit activities the next day after successful closing of the event, Col. Paul H. Fredenburgh III, commander, 1st Signal Brigade, gave remarks for all the participants, especially the KATUSAs.
"You all do a great job of making the brigade proud, especially the KATUSA Soldiers," said Fredenburgh. "You not only played a significant role in leading our soccer team to 1st place during KATUSA Friendship Week, but you also raise the operational capability of 1st Signal Brigade every day. Thank you all so much for your contributions and enjoy the rest of the week, because you well deserve it."