7th Korean Services Corps assumes transportation role
CAMP CASEY, South Korea — The 2nd Infantry Division has handed responsibility for transport of its heavy equipment over to the Korean Service Corps as part of the transformation of U.S. forces on the peninsula.
The 7th KSC Company was activated in a ceremony Thursday. The company will operate 24 heavy equipment transporters, or HETs — giant 48-wheeled trucks able to move some of the Army’s largest weapons, including Bradley fighting vehicles and Abrams main battle tanks.
The KSC is a paramilitary organization formed in 1950, during the Korean War, when U.S. commanders needed manpower to move supplies. It was nicknamed the “A-Frame Army” during the war because its members, all civilians, used A-frame backpacks to carry ammunition, rations and even wounded servicemembers in and out of isolated places.
KSC Battalion commander Lt. Col. Robert J. Paquin said the 7th KSC took over the heavy equipment transport mission from the 702nd Brigade Support Battalion.
“A decision was made to take that capability out of the U.S. military realm and transfer it to the Republic of Korea,” he said.
The new unit’s 91 personnel and the transporters are stationed at motor pools formerly occupied by the 702nd at Camp Mobile and 2nd ID’s recently inactivated Division Support Command at Camp Casey, he said.
The 7th’s mission involves moving the military vehicles along South Korea’s dangerous roads, mostly at night to avoid heavy daytime traffic and in cooperation with the South Korean government, which provides a police escort, Paquin said.
Using heavy transporters to move tanks and armored personnel carriers means less damage to South Korean roads from tracked vehicles, he added.
Paquin told 7th KSC personnel gathered at Camp Casey on Thursday that the KSC has supported transformation of the 8th Army over the past two years.
“We have assisted with the handover of the Joint Security Area and the closure of the Western Corridor, camps Page, Falling Water and Colbern,” he said.
The 7th’s new commander, Hong Chin-ho, said his unit already had moved a number of tracked vehicles from Camp Mobile to Camp Casey during a night operation last week.
“During that heavy equipment movement we accomplished the mission without any accident or problem,” he said.