USAG Red Cloud, Shinheung University pledge mutual aid on local environmental matters
CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- The Army in Warrior Country formed a partnership with a local university this week so both can help protect Korea's natural environment.
The partnership comes in the form of an agreement signed Nov. 13 at Camp Casey between the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I and Shinheung University, which is in Uijeongbu.
Under the agreement, both USAG Red Cloud and Area I and Shinheung University will exchange information on trends and other developments in environmental technology and practices. They'll do that through briefings, classes, seminars and similar exchanges, officials said.
After the signing inside the carpeted dining room of the Warrior's Club, the Army hosted a luncheon for students and faculty from Shinheung's Department of Environmental Management.
That was followed by a bus tour that showcased some of the methods the Army uses to protect the land, wildlife and Korean cultural properties on its installations.
Among stops on the day's tour were a motor pool, tank farm, vehicle wash rack, and several cultural sites, including the grave of General Aw Yoo-so, which dates to the late 1400s.
The day's events were part of the garrison's participation in the Green Neighbor Initiative, or GNI, a program developed by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command Pacific in cooperation with Eighth U.S. Army, and implemented Korea-wide.
USAG Red Cloud and Area I operates Army installations in northern Gyeonggi Province, and is responsible for exercising proper care of the land within its perimeters, including steps to preserve historic artifacts and other places and objects the South Korean government counts among its national cultural treasures.
The garrison brings to bear a variety of environmentally sound methods to ensure the land within its installations is properly cared for.
It applies these methods to such things as the soil, water, air emissions, and wildlife; proper storage and handling of fuel, chemicals, ammunition; recycling of paper, glass, metals and other materials; and preservation of such Korean cultural resources as stone pagodas and gravesites.
During the luncheon -- a buffet of lasagna, spaghetti, and fried chicken breast -- Col. John M. Scott, Commander, USAG Red Cloud and Area I, welcomed the 25 students, calling them "the eager minds."
The Army in Area I, Scott said, is "committed to being good protectors of our environment" and in partnering with universities like Shinheung.
Scott said he was "very proud" of the Army's environmental protection efforts, some of which they would be seeing during their tour.
The agreement with Shinheung will benefit both in meeting their common aims of protecting the local environment, officials said.
Among benefits for the Army in Warrior Country it'll mean a timely awareness of the latest developments in environmental research, said Roland Langford, chief of the environmental division at the USAG Red Cloud and Area I's Directorate of Public Works.
"Being a university and these are students that are majoring in environmental engineering, they're probably on the cutting edge of what's happening in technology," said Langford. "The young, sharp minds -- the university students -- can tell us what is happening currently and keep us abreast of current research and development. They can say to us, 'Did you know that so-and-so is coming down the pike?'"
And they can share with the Army their insights into the environmental situation as it stands in the Warrior Country region, Langford said.
"We are accustomed to this area's climate and geography, but many American's don't know about it very intimately," said Park Tai-kyu, a professor and chief of Shinheung's Department of Urban Environmental Management. "So we can give them an environmental solution fitting the circumstances in this region," he said.
For the school and the community of which it's a part, the garrison can be especially helpful sharing its practical know-how. If, for example, the region were again ravaged by the severe flooding as it was in 2011, the garrison could offer guidance and other help with practical methods of post-flood clean-up, Langford said.
Kim Su-yeon, 20, is studying environmental management at Shinheung. She was "impressed" by the stop at the motor pool, where they were shown how the Army uses double-walled tanks, pipes and electronic leak detection sensors as a safeguard against possible fuel contamination.
Fellow-student Kim Ho-gook, 20, studying urban environmental management, was struck by the discovery that the Army's environmental efforts include protection of cultural properties like the general's grave.
"I had no idea there was something like this," he said, motioning toward the gravesite. "We are learning just from seeing this place."