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NEWS | Feb. 2, 2015

Cavalry Division from Fort Hood to be Replaced by Rotational Unit to Republic of Korea

By Sgt. Samuel Northrup U.S. Army

The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, has been on the Peninsula continuously since 1965. During that time, it has built a shared history with the Republic of Korea Army and the local population. Through combined training and operations, Iron Brigade has stood shoulder to should with its ROK Army counterparts to deter the hostile North Korean regime.

Now history is in the making as 2nd ABCT, 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, replaces 1st ABCT; a first of many future rotations to the Peninsula.

"It changes a little bit how the United States puts ground forces in Korea, but it does not change the commitment to the armistice at all," said Maj. Timothy Ferguson, the operations officer in charge for 1st ABCT. "It still puts a capable, highly trained force on the ground to help with deterrence and to strengthen the alliance with the Republic of Korea."

Every course of action has pros and cons, and by using a rotational brigade there are more pros in the long-term, said Ferguson. Rotational brigades receive a lot of collective training and evaluations in places such as the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. They come over with a lot of capabilities and very ready to fight.

As part of the rotation process, 2nd ABCT conducted a pre-deployment site survey Jan. 26-30 at Area 1, in order to further their understanding of their mission. The survey included a Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army soldiers' engagement, multiple orientations of the local ranges, an aerial reconnaissance, unit footprint tours and a tour of Osan Air Base.

"A PDSS is a chance to really understand the entirety of the situation we are going into", said Lt. Col. Jason Tussey, the commander of 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd ABCT. "Being here on the ground allows us to see and touch everything, which is invaluable; it helps us see what resources and training facilities will be available for our Soldiers to use."

The movement of all the Soldiers has to be carefully coordinated, said Col. Sean Bernabe, the Commander of 2nd ABCT. There has to be an exchange of information, such as the intricacies of the mission and what tasks to perform to help support allies, between incoming and outgoing units. That is key to making a smooth transition between the brigades.

"I have seen rotations both in Iraq and Afghanistan … what that experience has taught us is how to understand the environment we are going operate in," said Tussey. "You have to understand the culture, the people, the economics, the government and local military forces. You just have to understand all those things in order to maintain a good relationship with the population."

Having just finished a rotation from the National Training Center, 2nd ABCT is ready to begin its mission as soon as it is on the ground, said Bernabe. The brigade is going to train hard and work rapidly to learn the local area in order to hone its combat skills.

"The reality is we are the first rotational brigade to deploy to South Korea, so we have the task to help the Army think through how to make the next rotation better and as smooth as possible for the next brigade coming in," said Bernabe. "Our nation has decided that we are going to start addressing this mission with a rotational brigade, so we will do it and we will do the best we can."

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