Warriors in Korea hit the slopes, building trust downhill

by Sgt. Raquel Villalona
U.S. Army

HONGCHEON, Republic of Korea - Warriors and family members clad in thick jackets and snow boots boarded a ski lift, ready to embark on a trust-building exercise.

Soldiers throughout 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division participated in a relationship enhancement training event, open to both single and married Soldiers, to improve communication amongst family members and build trust at Vivaldi Park Ski World Dec. 18-20.

Through a series of lectures and practical exercises, event host, Chaplain Myung "Tim" Ryu, deputy division chaplain, 2ID/RUCD, focused on the importance of building awareness and trust in families by having participants evaluate their personal relationships.

"The more we learn about ourselves and those around us, the more skilled we will become at accomplishing what matters most and avoiding misunderstandings," said Ryu, Pusan native. "You can become great at creating trust because it's a learnable skill, which helps you as a member of a team, and your family."

Warriors took what they learned in the classroom and applied it to the slopes, relying on one another to get through each escalating challenge.

"I'm not that great of a snowboarder, but as I kept going out there with my coworkers, my confidence increased," said Staff Sgt. Jesus M. Cazares, Brownsville, Texas native, master driver, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 2ID/RUCD. "It was a great experience being out here with my teammates, but it also made me appreciate and think about my family in the states even more."

Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Grissom, Bedford, Indiana native, electronics maintenance NCO, 2ID/RUCD, also attended the training event with his family. He won a prize for his presentation summarizing the core attributes of building trust and his example of balancing differences in a relationship.

"During a group exercise, we were separated into...groups identifying our different traits and allowing us to realize that although we may be different from our partner, we complement each other," said Grissom.

In closing remarks, guest speaker, Brig. Gen. Kim, Yong Chul, Gangwon-do native and deputy commanding general, Republic of Korea, 2ID/RUCD, discussed the differences in culture and community from a perspective of a ROK Army officer serving with the Warrior Division.

"Culture is deeply rooted in our ancestry, governing behaviors and norms," said Kim. "In regard to Koreans and U.S. Soldiers, our approach may be different, but we share the same goal of establishing credibility and trust. Understanding different perspectives can extend to personal relationships as well. We need to try to know each other, respect each other, and love each other."

For more images, please visit the official 2ID/RUCD Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/2id/albums/72157704825418285

Photo Caption:

HONGCHEON, Republic of Korea - Staff Sgt. Ruben F. Fernandez, Madill, Oklahoma native, career counselor, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division, and spouse Adriana Fernandez, guide their seven-year-old son Adrian down a beginner-ski slope during a Strong Bonds family training event at Vivaldi Park Ski World Dec. 18-20. The event, open to both single and married Soldiers, focused on building ready families and strengthening trust through a series of lectures, presentations, group exercises, and conquering the slopes.

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