Spc. Sydni Kloczkowski was aware of the growing tension between North Korea and the United States when she joined the already-deployed 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division in South Korea. But without a computer and reliable cellphone reception, she said she’s lost touch with the steady stream of news Americans living stateside are faced with.
Instead, she trains hard and feels confident in her job no matter what sort of combat situation does or doesn’t arise.
“It’s what I was expecting,” she said.
Since Fort Hood began sending rotational forces to supplement the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea about four years ago, troops have come to understand this deployment means increased training and the preparedness to respond to potential combat at a moment’s notice. After all, the division’s motto is “Fight tonight.”
What has changed is the political climate of the Pacific region. Threats and nuclear tests in communist North Korea have increased and the American media has ramped up coverage of the conflict — particularly surrounding diplomatic relations between dictator Kim Jong-Un and President Donald Trump.
Then, in early December, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-North Carolina, called for the Pentagon to remove all U.S. military dependents from South Korea because the possibility of war was so imminent.
While the families of Fort Hood soldiers stay home in the states — only specific, Army jobs in Korea allow for families — it can be worrisome for troops and families alike to hear concerns like this. Kloczkowski said her father discusses with her the possibility of war, but that she doesn’t dwell on it.
This deployment has given Kloczkowski, a preventative medicine specialist previously assigned to a small military hospital, the chance to learn what it means to be in a combat unit. As part of the 15th Brigade Support Battalion, she completed her first ruck march and is enjoying going out to train in the field.
“I’m confident in everything required of the tasks needed if we go to war,” she said.
The biggest struggle she’s faced over deployment is staying connected with her 1-year-old son who is living with her parents, because her husband’s training schedule at Fort Hood is equally as hectic.
“The time difference makes it difficult,” Kloczkowski said. “There is a one-hour period I can talk to him before he goes to bed. It’s just hard to catch it.”
Sgt. Eriana Dorsey of the same battalion said she does look at the news every now and then, and it does make her nervous. Regardless, she deployed knowing the threats and feels ready thanks to frequent chemical warfare training combined with overall unit readiness.
“I think people would be surprised to know that we do the same things here as we do in the states,” Dorsey said referring to her day-to-day work and training schedule.
The brigade is now on the back-end of deployment and is scheduled to return to Fort Hood in the next couple of months.