Engineer battalions coming soon to South Korea's Camp Humphreys
By ASHLEY ROWLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 14, 2015
SEOUL, South Korea — Engineer battalions will soon become part of the rotational forces deploying to South Korea for nine-month tours, the Eighth Army announced Friday.
Approximately 400 personnel with the U.S-based 95th Engineer Co. (Clearance), the 59th Mobility Augmentation Co. and the 74th Multirole Bridge Co. are scheduled to arrive at Camp Humphreys next month.
Later rotations will send an additional 300 soldiers to the peninsula, bringing the number of engineer companies to six, though the military did not say when those deployments would take place or where the units would come from.
Military officials say the increased use of rotational deployments in South Korea helps maintain unit cohesion in a theater where constant turnover is the norm. Troops are typically stationed in South Korea on one- or two-year tours, but under the rotational deployment plan, entire units will train for and deploy to the peninsula together.
An Eighth Army statement said the rotation of engineer battalions will “enhance mobility and counter-mobility capabilities within (South Korea) by providing explosive hazards detection, horizontal surface construction and other assets,” and will expose more U.S. soldiers “to the unique mission in Korea.”
The addition of rotation engineer battalions will not change overall troop numbers on the peninsula, which are set at 28,500 by an agreement between the U.S. and South Korea.
The U.S. has sent several rotation forces to South Korea since 2013, including the 23rd Chemical Battalion, three Kiowa helicopter units and two combined-arms battalions.
Last month, the Fort Hood-based 1st Calvary Division’s 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade Combat Team, in Area 1 on a nine-month rotation and the first rotational brigade combat team in South Korea, assumed responsibilities previously held by the now-inactivated 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team.