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2nd Infantry Division soldiers check out Korean War-era aircraft at the Freedom Protection Peace Museum at the foot of Mount Soyo on Friday. The soldiers were part of a Dongducheon city-sponsored tour, the first of its kind in six years.

2nd Infantry Division soldiers check out Korean War-era aircraft at the Freedom Protection Peace Museum at the foot of Mount Soyo on Friday. The soldiers were part of a Dongducheon city-sponsored tour, the first of its kind in six years. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

2nd Infantry Division soldiers check out Korean War-era aircraft at the Freedom Protection Peace Museum at the foot of Mount Soyo on Friday. The soldiers were part of a Dongducheon city-sponsored tour, the first of its kind in six years.

2nd Infantry Division soldiers check out Korean War-era aircraft at the Freedom Protection Peace Museum at the foot of Mount Soyo on Friday. The soldiers were part of a Dongducheon city-sponsored tour, the first of its kind in six years. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

Sgt. Anthony Rocha-Arana, one of about 40 2nd Infantry Division soldiers on a Dongducheon city-sponsored tour, checks out the produce at a market on Friday.

Sgt. Anthony Rocha-Arana, one of about 40 2nd Infantry Division soldiers on a Dongducheon city-sponsored tour, checks out the produce at a market on Friday. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

A 2nd Infantry Division soldier checks out a Korean War-era war machine Friday at the Freedom Protection Peace Museum at the foot of Mount Soyo. The soldiers were part of a Dongducheon city-sponsored tour, the first of its kind in six years.

A 2nd Infantry Division soldier checks out a Korean War-era war machine Friday at the Freedom Protection Peace Museum at the foot of Mount Soyo. The soldiers were part of a Dongducheon city-sponsored tour, the first of its kind in six years. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

DONGDUCHEON, South Korea — The soldiers eyed the table of dumplings in Dongducheon’s Old Town market inquisitively — some looked like Chinese won tons, while others looked more like gray brain matter.

But in the time honored-tradition of American soldiers, when free food was served, they ate.

“The rice things are pretty good,” said Pvt. Monte Lass. “There’s a lot of variety here,” he added, summing up both the table and his view of South Korea after arriving just recently in country.

Lass was one of about 40 2nd Infantry Division soldiers who participated in a city-sponsored tour for enlisted soldiers.

They toured the city’s soccer stadium, old town market, Freedom Protection Peace Museum at Soyo Mountain, and the area outside Camp Casey known as “The Ville” — which many were already well acquainted with, they indicated.

The trip concluded with a free burger and fries at Marty’s American Sports Bar and Grill.

A few of the soldiers on the trip had been in South Korea for more than a year, but the majority were newcomers. Others said it was their first day in town after initial 30-day restrictions on post imposed by some units.

The trip was an eye-opener for soldiers who had never been to a foreign country, and for others who hadn’t traveled extensively in the United States.

“I’ve never been in the mountains before,” said Pvt. Shane Lund, of 1st Battalion, 15th Field Artillery, who just arrived in country after growing up in the Midwest. “The only thing I see out there is corn.”

Soldiers who toured the museum saw some of the old South Korean planes and ground units. They also learned that while the U.S. supplied the overwhelming amount of foreign manpower during the Korean War, countries like Ethiopia and South Africa also sent troops and medics.

“It was nice to see,” said Pvt. Nicholas Weisenberger of 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery. “I didn’t know a lot about the war and who participated.”

Weisenberger added that the soccer stadium, which is open to the public, “made his trip.” But for many junior enlisted soldiers like those in Area I, “it’s tough to get away from my battalion to go to these places.”

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