Support our mission
 
South Korean students have lunch with U.S. soldiers at the Kilbourne Dining Facility on Camp Red Cloud, Friday. Keuktong University sponsored the trip for the high school and college-aged students, who were also scheduled to try out the tactical vehicle simulators at Camp Casey.
South Korean students have lunch with U.S. soldiers at the Kilbourne Dining Facility on Camp Red Cloud, Friday. Keuktong University sponsored the trip for the high school and college-aged students, who were also scheduled to try out the tactical vehicle simulators at Camp Casey. (Erik Slavin / S&S)
South Korean students have lunch with U.S. soldiers at the Kilbourne Dining Facility on Camp Red Cloud, Friday. Keuktong University sponsored the trip for the high school and college-aged students, who were also scheduled to try out the tactical vehicle simulators at Camp Casey.
South Korean students have lunch with U.S. soldiers at the Kilbourne Dining Facility on Camp Red Cloud, Friday. Keuktong University sponsored the trip for the high school and college-aged students, who were also scheduled to try out the tactical vehicle simulators at Camp Casey. (Erik Slavin / S&S)
A South Korean student receives lunch at the Kilbourne Dining Facility on Camp Red Cloud on Friday.
A South Korean student receives lunch at the Kilbourne Dining Facility on Camp Red Cloud on Friday. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — A group of South Koreans students learned Friday that American soldiers don’t spend all day huddled in bunkers with their rifles.

That mental image and a few others went into revision among the 23 high school and college-age students and 10 faculty members who toured camps Red Cloud and Casey during a trip sponsored by Keuktong University.

“I actually thought the soldiers would be not so kind to us. They have a really strict image,” said Lee Won-jik, 16, who was nicknamed “Scott” for the day. “When I actually came here though, they were really friendly to us.”

The students were welcomed by 2nd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. James Coggin on Friday morning before touring the 2nd ID museum.

They then received a briefing and watched a short film at Freeman Hall before heading to the Kilbourne Dining Facility.

The chicken and ribs got thumbs up from most, while several of them added a helping of kimchi on the side.

A few of the soldiers introduced the students to the wonders of “brain freeze,” courtesy of the fruit smoothie machine.

Several students said they had visited Yongsan Garrison in Seoul as part of the university- sponsored program. However, Camp Red Cloud had a decidedly different feel, some said.

“I thought everybody here would be American,” said Lee Ming-gu, 16. “I was quite surprised to see a lot of Koreans here, compared to other bases.”

Prior to visiting the bases, Lee said he had some “dark images” of American servicemembers. Those associations were changing, he said — which 2nd ID officials say is precisely the point of organized trips like this one.

Several of the students seemed fascinated by the different patches and badges worn by soldiers like Pfc. Carla Cordova, of 2nd ID’s headquarters company.

Once they got past the uniform, they came up with more personal questions.

“They asked me what is was like to be a woman in the Army, and they asked what we do for fun,” said. “They thought all we do is training and shooting weapons.”

The visit also got some of the boys thinking about their mandatory national service, usually started at 20 in either the South Korean military or police force.

A gig as a Korean Augmentee to the U.S. Army, or KATUSA, didn’t sound so bad to “Scott” Lee.

“If there is still a base like this, I would try to,” Lee said.

Migrated
twitter Email

stars and stripes videos


around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up