Thursday, January 15, 2015

South Korean troops form combined division with U.S. Army

South Korean troops form combined division with U.S. Army: About 30 officers from the South Korean army will become part of the 2nd Infantry Division headquarters Thursday as part of a sweeping and unprecedented restructuring of the American headquarters.

The 30 officers, to include a brigadier general, will become part of what officials are calling a combined division stationed in the Republic of Korea. As the division builds its combined structure over the coming months, even more South Korean officers, as well as noncommissioned officers, could be added to the headquarters.

"To the best of our knowledge, historically, we don't know where it's been done where you have brigades and staff headquarters fully integrated," said Maj. Gen. Thomas Vandal, commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division. "It's a unique opportunity for us to enhance our readiness and work through our interoperability challenges. It really takes the strength of the U.S. Army and our forces, and the strengths of the ROK military, and together you have a much more powerful organization."

The 2nd Infantry Division has worked alongside its Republic of Korea counterparts for more than 60 years on the volatile Korean peninsula. The historic alliance will enter a new phase this month with the integration of the South Korean officers, officials said.

"U.S. and Korean soldiers will literally operate as one unit, with one unified effort," Vandal said.