U.S., Republic of Korea armies to establish combined division

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An infantryman with the Republic of Korea's 21st Division practices weapons qualification during the 2nd Infantry Division's Expert Infantryman Badge testing and training on Camp Casey, South Korea, Oct. 7. (Photo Credit: ChinU Pak)
An infantryman with the Republic of Korea's 21st Division practices weapons qualification during the 2nd Infantry Division's Expert Infantryman Badge testing and training on Camp Casey, South Korea, Oct. 7. (Photo Credit: ChinU Pak)

U.S., Republic of Korea armies to establish combined division

by: Courtesy | .
U.S. Army | .
published: January 17, 2015

UIJEONGBU, South Korea (Jan. 14, 2015) -- The 2nd Infantry "Warrior" Division is entering a significant phase in its 100-year history.

For more than 60 years, 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with their South Korean allies on freedom's frontier keeping the peninsula secure against an aggressive and oppressive North Korean regime. The division is constantly seeking ways to further improve its readiness and strengthen the historic alliance it shares with South Korea.

The division is establishing a new organizational paradigm for the U.S. and Republic of Korea, or ROK, armies. This month, the division will enter a new phase in its enduring partnership with South Korea. They are combining forces with the establishment of a combined division and are preparing to emerge as a more decisive expeditionary force with collective capabilities for a robust combined deterrence and defense posture.

"The combined division construct is itself historic. It will be the first of its kind at any time in our history. U.S. and Korean Soldiers will literally operate as one unit with one unified effort," said Maj. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division. "Nowhere else has this been attempted to the extent that we are going to implement, and the fact that we are able to make this happen is momentous."

Officers, non-commissioned officers and units will be attached to the division, allowing interoperability between U.S. and Republic of Korea forces as well as planning for mission requirements; capitalizing on the strengths of both armies.

The Combined Division will be led by the 2nd Infantry Division commander with a Republic of Korea deputy commander. The combined division will fall under Eighth Army in support of the ground component commander and will be composed of the already existing 2nd Infantry Division structure and a brigade from the Republic of Korea's army.

Brig. Gen. Yin will serve as the Republic of Korea's deputy commanding general and approximately 30 Republic of Korea army staff officers will support the commander's core staff functions as primary and deputy staff and as deputy chief of staff. Many will begin integration training next week.

The collaboration is unprecedented and a true testament of the strength of the alliance between the United States and South Korea, building on its already strong and historic presence and partnership.

"The goal of this unification is to cultivate adaptive capabilities to deter and defeat future provocations," Vandal said. "Together we will strengthen the Alliance and enhance the defense of the ROK."

The combined division and its headquarters will initially be located in Uijeonbu at Camp Red Cloud. As part of the Land Partnership Plan, an agreement made between the U.S. and South Korean governments, the combined division will move further south on the Korean Peninsula to Pyeongtak as facilities become available.

To kick off this move, the division participated in a groundbreaking ceremony this past April for its future headquarters at Camp Humphreys. The expansion and construction is a multibillion-dollar project that includes housing, medical, educational, and recreational facilities. The new headquarters, along with office and housing facilities, are scheduled to be complete by 2016.

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