2nd ID commander visits Soldiers in Philippines|
By Maj. Edzel Butac, Eighth Army Public Affairs
The 2nd Infantry Division, based out of South Korea, sent approximately 500 Soldiers from the 4-7th Cavalry in support of the exercise.
"We are fired up to have the commanding general here," said Lt. Col. Mike Adams, 4-7th Cavalry commander. "The Soldiers are excited, we are ready for training and we are executing what we came here to do with our Philippine Army counterparts."
Tucker talked to the 4-7th Cavalry troopers and thanked them for their participation in the exercise, the first for a unit assigned to the Korean Peninsula.
"What you're doing here at Balikatan has global implications," Tucker said. "You might not realize it at this moment, but believe me, our bilateral partnership with the Philippines is very important in the global war on terrorism. You're all ambassadors of the United States."
Tucker also took time to re-enlist six Soldiers from the 4-7th Cavalry during his visit here. "It was great to be re-enlisted by the CG today," Staff Sgt. Avery Mack, one of the re-enlistees, said. "This is the greatest job on earth and now I'm gainfully employed for the next four years."
This is the second time the 4-7th Cavalry has been in this locale.
"It is a historic return for our unit here in the Philippines. 4-7th Cavalry was here back in World War II and actually performed their mission just north of where we are right now," Adams said.
The unit received three of the campaign streamers on its colors for its missions in World War II here.
Tucker also visited troops around their temporary camp and chatted with the Soldiers about the exercise. Some Soldiers admit to missing Korea during the exercise.
"Some of you probably can't wait to get back to Korea," Tucker said. "You see, once you leave and go somewhere else, that's when you realize that Camp Hovey or Camp Red Cloud is 'paradise' after all."
The unique training provided here for 2nd ID Soldiers builds relationships between militaries and local communities that will ultimately yield long-term security dividends for the region. The exercise will also improve 2nd ID's ability to conduct joint and multinational operations on the Korean Peninsula.
"The exercise and training is excellent," Mack said. "The two-week training we are receiving here definitely makes us more proficient in our skills that we need for Korea. I recommend us participating more."
The focus of Balikatan 2011 is combined training with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be better prepared to provide humanitarian relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety.
Balikatan 2011 is the 27th in this series of annual bilateral exercises and is held under the auspices of the Philippine-U.S Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement.