After a two-year command that concluded with the first deployment of U.S. combat troops from South Korea to another theater of war, Maj. Gen. John R. Wood will relinquish command of the 2nd Infantry Division on Tuesday at Camp Casey.

A change-of-command ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at Indianhead Field, with U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Leon J. LaPorte, 8th Army commander Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell and high-ranking South Korean officials expected to attend.

Wood, who assumed command on a rainy day in July 2002, will hand over the reins to Maj. Gen. George A. Higgins, currently an assistant chief of staff for USFK, the Combined Forces Command and 8th Army.

Wood will move on to become the director of the Joint Experimentation Directorate, U.S. Joint Forces Command, in Norfolk, Va., a 2nd ID spokesman said.

Wood’s tenure was bookended by a pair of events remembered as tragic in one case, and historic in the other. Just a month before he assumed command, two young South Korean girls were run over and killed by a 2nd ID armored vehicle, touching off months of protests and anti-American rallies.

This summer, with his tour coming to a close, Wood successfully shepherded the training and deployment of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team for a one-year tour in Iraq. Some 3,600 soldiers from the brigade traded in their woodland green uniforms for desert tan, undergoing rigorous training to adapt their mission from defending against a North Korean attack to one of stabilization and offensive operations in Iraq.

Once the training was completed, the challenge of physically deploying the troops and their equipment became the focus. In what military officials called the biggest logistics effort since the Korean War, thousands of vehicles were sent by rail to southern ports and on to Kuwait. The soldiers boarded buses for Osan Air Base, where 10 days of flights took them to the desert.

“In 32 years in the Army, I have never seen such a high quality of rapidly-developed training products available for training individual leaders to squads, platoons, companies and battalions. All of this helps us understand the conditions or experience of this theater and be able to set the conditions for our training,” Wood said in an interview with Stripes this summer.

“The conditions in Korea are different than the conditions in Iraq, but the military task and standard remain the same. It is the conditions that change dramatically, between the hills and forested slopes of Korea to the deserts and towns of Iraq.”

In the interview, Wood said he would like to be with his soldiers in Iraq but that the mission in South Korea remains 2nd ID’s focus. At the end of the Iraq mission, he said, he hopes he can look back and say the 2nd Brigade Combat Team soldiers were well-trained and ready for the job at hand; their families were well-cared for; they were properly equipped and they had a successful mission.

When he assumed division command in 2002, Wood noted that his father was part of a 10-person planning team that brought the division to South Korea in 1950 when the Korean War began. By early September of that year, the division and other U.S. and South Korean units were inside the Pusan Perimeter in the peninsula’s southeast corner, under heavy attack by the North Koreans.

“The afternoon of Sept. 2, 1950, my father received a handwritten order from division commander Maj. Gen. Laurence Keiser,” Wood told the crowd.

“It said simply, ‘For the honor of the division and the country, every man shall hold his position to the last on the ground he now occupies.’”

The division held and within days broke out of the perimeter as U.S. soldiers and Marines landed at Incheon, and the North Koreans soon were on the run.

“I have that note with me now,” Wood said.

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