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Maj. Gen. John R. Wood, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, and Pfc. Kim Yong Hwan, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 44th Engineer Battalion, go over English names for body parts Saturday during a lesson at a Paju, South Korea, school.
Maj. Gen. John R. Wood, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, and Pfc. Kim Yong Hwan, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 44th Engineer Battalion, go over English names for body parts Saturday during a lesson at a Paju, South Korea, school. (Yu Hu-son / Courtesy of U.S. Army)
Maj. Gen. John R. Wood, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, and Pfc. Kim Yong Hwan, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 44th Engineer Battalion, go over English names for body parts Saturday during a lesson at a Paju, South Korea, school.
Maj. Gen. John R. Wood, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, and Pfc. Kim Yong Hwan, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 44th Engineer Battalion, go over English names for body parts Saturday during a lesson at a Paju, South Korea, school. (Yu Hu-son / Courtesy of U.S. Army)
Margaret Wood, wife of the 2nd Infantry Division commander, and Shim Sook-hyun, a Jisan Middle School English teacher, show the students how to play an English language game.
Margaret Wood, wife of the 2nd Infantry Division commander, and Shim Sook-hyun, a Jisan Middle School English teacher, show the students how to play an English language game. (Yu Hu-son / Courtesy of U.S. Army)

As part of its efforts to project a positive image of itself to young South Koreans, the U.S. Army is increasingly taking its soldiers directly to local classrooms.

Programs in which American GIs teach English to South Korean students are sprouting up in towns near U.S. camps, and in the latest effort, the commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division spent Saturday in a Paju classroom. It was the first time a 2nd ID commander has participated in the program, division officials said.

“My soldiers were having so much fun, I wanted to see the students for myself,” Maj. Gen. John R. Wood was quoted as saying in an Army news release. “They are as energetic as students everywhere.”

On Saturday, Wood and his wife took over English lessons for some 50 students at Jisan Middle School. That school, along with several others in Paju, are part of the teaching program sponsored by Camp Howze’s 44th Engineer Battalion.

Wood also introduced the students to the concept of Halloween, handing out bags of candy corn and other treats, including ballcaps and other mementos.

The Army touts the volunteer teachers from even the smaller installations, like Camp Jackson, home of the 8th Army NCO Academy in Uijongbu. Soldiers from Jackson also team with Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army to teach in several local schools.

“This generation will now have a long-term relationship with us, which will be of mutual benefit,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Eloy Alcivar, who helped establish the teaching program run by the 2nd Infantry Division’s Engineer Brigade.

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