2nd Brigade takes over Korea mission

The battalion commanders of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, uncase their unit’s colors for the first time in South Korea during the transfer of authority ceremony between the 2nd Brigade and the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, at Camp Casey. The 2nd Brigade is the first rotational brigade to arrive in South Korea as part of the restructuring of the U.S. Forces Korea.

Staff Sgt. John Healy | U.S. Army

CAMP CASEY, South Korea — A new era in the history of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was made official earlier this month.

One month after arriving in South Korea, the brigade completed a transfer of authority with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, assuming their role in the defense network of U.S. forces that guards South Korea.

The ceremony was held on Camp Casey, an American Army base located within the city of Dongducheon.

The commanders of the two brigades met on the stands beneath the massive 2nd Infantry Division patch on the Indianhead Parade Field as their troops marched onto the grounds. Above them hung the 2nd Infantry Division’s motto, “Second to None.”

“After 50 years absence, the Black Jack Brigade has returned to Korea,” said Col. Sean Bernabe, commander of 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade. “It is an absolute honor to once again uncase the Black Jack colors in the land of the morning calm.”

The 2nd Brigade will be providing support as one of the 2nd Infantry Division’s subordinate brigade combat teams.

This restructuring of the U.S. forces stationed in Korea comes as part of a new initiative to improve readiness and force projection along the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea. By rotating whole units rather than individual soldiers, commanders arrive in Korea with a fully trained force at their disposal.

“As the first brigade-sized rotational unit on the Korean peninsula, we recognize that a lot is on our shoulders,” Bernabe said.

Col. Mat Eichburg, commander of the Iron Brigade, fully supported the decision to send the Black Jack Brigade in as their relief.

“I am a complete supporter of the rotational brigade concept,” Eichburg said. “I don’t think the United States could communicate its commitment to South Korea any better than in sending the Black Jack Brigade.”

The legacy left behind by the Iron Brigade is the mentality to always be ready to “Fight Tonight.” Since their arrival in Korea July 1965, and now spanning 50 years of partnership with the Republic or Korea Army, the “Fight Tonight” mentality has always been the driving force behind the Iron Brigade’s training. Now, this tradition is being passed on as the Iron Brigade too opens a new chapter in 2nd Infantry Division history at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

The importance of such a historical event weighed heavily on Maj. Gen. Theodore “Ted” Martin, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division.

“The Iron Brigade … has continued a five-decade-long record of excellence that is unmatched by any other brigade in our Army,” Martin said. “I am proud to have had them serve with such honor and distinction in these difficult times.”

With the echo of cannon fire reverberating off the mountains surrounding Camp Casey, the commanders of the Iron and Black Jack brigades lead their guidons to the center of the field.

At the general’s command, the leaders of the Iron Brigade carefully folded their brigade’s colors, while the leaders of the Black Jack Brigade set theirs free for the first time since crossing the Pacific Ocean. The transfer is complete. The Black Jack Brigade has once again joined the ranks of those who are honored to call themselves defenders of the southern peninsula.

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