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Friendship week strengthens bond

By Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Troth


CAMP RED CLOUD – Soldiers in Area I have spent a rigorous week of friendly sports and cultural events known as Warrior Friendship Week April 16 - 20, an annual event that aims to solidify the bonds between U.S. troops and their South Korean KATUSA counterparts.


It involved Soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Division and U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud.


KATUSAs are South Korean troops assigned to the U.S. Army. More than a quarter million KATUSAs have served with the 2nd Infantry Division since the Korean War of 1950 – 1953.


“While tough realistic training creates a bond with Soldiers and units, friendly competition like this week also offers us a superb means for us to bond and solidify our relationship,” Maj. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, the 2nd Infantry Division’s commanding general, said in remarks kicking off the week’s final day of competition April 20.


The week’s competition included team sports that the U.S. Soldiers were used to playing: soccer, basketball, tug-of-war, and a mile relay.


But it also included Korean sports most hadn’t heard of prior to arriving in Korea.


On a tennis court they played “jokgu” – foot volleyball – and “gimajeon” – something like a chicken fight where riders try to pull each other off their “mounts”.


The Korean cultural events gave everyone the chance to make kites and kimchi.


They were also got the chance to play traditional Korean games, among them, “tuho” – throwing arrows into a canister – and “jaegichagi” – similar to hacky sack but with tassels on it. And they even got to dress up in traditional Korean clothes.


“The camaraderie that we have between us contributes to the strength of our units, the division and to our alliance,” Cardon said in remarks at the April 20 closing ceremony.


“Our military alliance is strong,” he said, “but it is stronger because of the friendships and the partnerships we build every day and made stronger with this week.”

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Taken on April 25, 2012