Thousands of 2nd ID soldiers come together for ‘living insignia’

2nd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III, center, raises his fist in celebration after 5,000 members of his unit were photographed posing for a "living insignia," a re-recreation of the division's badge, Thursday at Camp Casey in South Korea.


By JON RABIROFF | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 23, 2009

CAMP CASEY, South Korea — About 5,000 members of the 2nd Infantry Division came here from bases all over the peninsula Thursday to be photographed as part of a "living insignia," or human re-creation of the patch worn by those in the division.

In doing so, the 2nd ID was repeating something done 84 years earlier, in November 1925, when a comparable number of division soldiers gathered on a parade field at Fort Sam Houston in Texas to pose for a similar photograph.

After Thursday’s photo was snapped, division commander Maj. Gen. John W. Morgan III thanked those in attendance for being "part of history."

Lt. Col. Michael Anastasia, the coordinator of the event, said the photo shoot was more than just an interesting idea.

"This picture really reflects the camaraderie, the teamwork and the brotherhood that we have serving in the Warrior Division," he said. "We really hope as this photo gets published around the Army, that soldiers would seriously consider taking a tour of duty in Korea and serving in the 2nd Infantry Division."

Division historian William Michael Alexander, the director of the 2nd Infantry Division Museum at Camp Red Cloud, said the 1925 and 2009 living-insignia photos will soon be displayed side by side at the museum entrance.

"Right as you walk in, it will be the first thing that catches your eye," he said.

Thursday’s photo-shoot took months of planning. According to a 2nd ID fact sheet, engineers had to account for the angle created with the photographer 35 feet above ground and at the base of the patch.

And then a light rain that fell during the shoot.

"The Army is an all-weather sport," Morgan said, "and we came out here today to demonstrate our camaraderie and our pride in the heritage of the 2nd Infantry Division."

Alexander said the rain actually may have added something to the experience that will get more interesting as time passes.

Those involved "won’t appreciate it now, because they are cold and wet," he said. "But, when they are looking at it 10, 15, 20 years from now, it will really hit home. ... They’re a part of history."

The historian said when people look at the 1925 and 2009 photos side by side, they quickly will notice how things have changed since the days of the segregated Army of the post-World War I era.

"What you’ll see [in the 2009 photo] is that diversity, and that diversity is our strength, just like it’s the United States of America’s strength," Alexander said. "We’re America’s Army, and we reflect the country that we serve."

Members of the 2nd Infantry Division pose for a “human insignia” of the division patch at Fort Sam Houston in Texas in 1925.

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