Black Jack combat brigade takes over on the Korean Peninsula
By MARCUS FICHTL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 28, 2017
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — A new combat brigade took point on the heavily militarized Korean Peninsula on Wednesday.
The 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division replaced the 1st ABCT, 1 ID as the only U.S. combat brigade in South Korea during a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Camp Humphreys. It also marked the first day of the new brigade’s nine-month rotational deployment.
“I’m very proud to have the Black Jack brigade rejoin the rolls of the 2nd Infantry Division,” Maj. Gen. Ted Martin, the division’s commander, said during the ceremony.
This is the Fort Hood, Texas-based brigade’s second and the Army’s fourth such rotation to South Korea. The Black Jack’s first visit in 2015 replaced the 2ID’s last organic combat brigade, the Iron Brigade, which deactivated after 50 continuous years on the divided peninsula.
Martin said the ceremony taking place on Camp Humphreys, 40 miles south of Seoul, is another milestone for a division that has spent much of its 100-year history just a handful of miles from the Demilitarized Zone.
“It’s significant that this brigade transfer of authority is taking place, here at Camp Humphreys, Area III, as the brigade has almost completed its long-awaited re-stationing,” Martin said.
He was referring to the fact that the division has begun moving forces to the expanded Army garrison from northern areas as part of a relocation plan to move the bulk of the 28,500 U.S. forces based here south of Seoul.
Instead of being in Korean War-era Quonset huts found on Camp Casey and Camp Hovey, the Black Jacks will have an opportunity to test out the newest training facilities the Army has to offer, which has excited enlisted troop leaders like 1st Sgt. Troy Hill.
“The overseas Army is a lot closer because at the end of the day we don’t scatter to the four winds,” the 36 year-old from Rhinelander, Wis., said. “We’re able to train hard, more than five days, nine to five, and train with the great [South Korean] army as well.”
With a 12-month Korea-centric train-up prior to arriving on the peninsula, Martin said the Black Jack brigade will continue the mission of deterring North Korean aggression in what he called a “dangerous and unpredictable world.”