Our second day in South Korea began early. But it was not as early as for some.
Before even a ray of sunlight broke over the horizon, 1st Brigade soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division were already up and training for the very thing they flew all the way to the other side of the world to maintain: readiness.
As we drove through Camp Casey in those wee morning hours, a sense of urgency was almost tangible, as soldiers from the entire brigade participated in an emergency deployment readiness exercise. Watching them perform each task as if they were actually preparing to “fight tonight” made their mission seem more real.
These soldiers weren’t merely going through a routine simulation. They were training for the very real threat that lies just miles away from where they’ll live, work, eat and go about life for the next nine months.
It was the final day before 2nd Brigade Combat Team officially passes the torch to the Ironhorse brigade, and the first brigade-wide training event of its kind for 1st Brigade.
Though most of the soldiers have been on the ground for only a few days, or a few weeks at the most, the event reflected the seriousness of the unit’s mission, and their unwavering commitment to the South Korean forces they partner with.
It put the scope of what they’re doing here in perspective, and showed me what it really looks like to fight tonight.
The training was not made easier by the brisk temperatures outside, which hovered at around 20 degrees throughout the exercise.
Cold temperatures finally gave way to an afternoon snowstorm, dusting Camp Casey with a pristine blanket of snow – a far cry from the warm temperatures many of these Central Texas soldiers are accustomed to, and certainly not something this native Texan has seen many times in my lifetime.
It was a picturesque way to end a long day of hustle and bustle.