YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (May 19, 2014) -- When notice
arrived that he was deploying to Iraq, 1st Lt. Scott McCullough was
ready to return from his year-long tour with the 2nd Infantry
Division, in South Korea.
Three months later, the Louisville,
Ky., native found himself in the epicenter of the Iraqi insurgency
inside the "Sunni Triangle" in Al Anbar Province.
McCullough and other combat veterans from 2nd Brigade Combat Team
"Strike Brigade," 2nd Infantry Division, will mark the 10th
anniversary of the first wartime deployment of U.S. Army forces from
the Korean Peninsula.
The 2nd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade
Combat Team deployed from South Korea to Iraq's Sunni Triangle, in
August 2004. (U.S. Army photo by Col. Eric Albertson, U.S. Forces
Korea Command Chaplain)
McCullough served as the executive officer for
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 506th
Infantry Regiment (Air Assault), in the 2nd Infantry
Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
operating in a very kinetic environment," said McCullough,
who is now a major serving as the plans officer in the
Eighth Army Public Affairs Office. "Everybody in Iraq knew
who we were because we were the only brigade driving around
in green Humvees."
Master Sgt. Michael Y. Pak served
with McCullough in the 1-506th Infantry during the
deployment. Today, Pak is the senior enlisted adviser for
the Korean Service Corps Battalion, the U.S. Army's largest
During the deployment,
Pak said his unit conducted route and base security, convoy
escort missions and raids, as well as local engagements with
"There were many successes in our
deployment but the biggest success at the time, in my
opinion, was winning the hearts and minds of the local
nationals," said Pak, a 16-year Army veteran from Killeen,
Texas, who has deployed to Iraq twice. "(They) would provide
information on possible weapons caches and (improvised
explosive device) locations."
Along with confronting
and defeating the enemy, Pak said the Soldiers of the 2nd
BCT had to overcome the incredible heat in Iraq.
"Korea was going through the monsoon season and the cool
down period as we ramped up to deploy," said Pak. "Once we
got to Iraq, it was like a sauna that could not be shut off.
The weather difference had to be a 40-to-50 degree
According to Pak, his unit
patrolled the hot, dusty and dangerous roads in Iraq where
encounters with improvised explosive devices were common
"The fear of IEDs was in all of our
minds as we rode in the back of this LMTV (Light Medium
Tactical Vehicle) down one of the most dangerous (main
supply routes) in Iraq," said Pak.
Albertson, the U.S. Forces Korea command chaplain, deployed
with the Strike Brigade to Iraq. The chaplain, an avid
photographer who captured the deployment on film, said even
holding religious ceremonies could be challenging in such a
"On several occasions, while
celebrating Mass, I had to stop the prayers and get down for
cover due to incoming. On two occasions, the blasts impacted
close to the chapel," said Albertson, a Catholic chaplain
from the Arlington, Va., Diocese.
Former 2nd Brigade
Combat Team Commander now-Maj. Gen. Gary Patton said the
biggest challenge in Iraq was an enemy that continued to
adapt and evolve throughout the 2nd BCT's deployment.
"Our brigade was the main effort in the epicenter of the
insurgency," said Patton. "We were fighting terrorists on a
daily basis, and our Soldiers performed very well under very
"I couldn't be more proud of
the 2nd BCT and the entire combined defense team in Korea,"
said Patton. "When asked to do the impossible on short
notice, they rolled up their sleeves and made history."
Retired Gen. Charles C. "Hondo" Campbell, who served as
Eighth Army commander during the historic first operational
deployment, said the 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployment was
part of the U.S. Department of Defense's force reductions on
the Korean Peninsula.
"My most vivid memory is of the
teamwork that made the deployment possible," said Campbell,
a native of Shreveport, La., who commanded U.S. Army Forces
Command before retiring from the U.S. Army, in 2010. "On the
peninsula, the entire Eighth Army Team contributed. Everyone
had an important part, to include the 2nd Infantry Division
and all of its major subordinate commands; Eighth Army and
all of its (major subordinate commands); and (the Korea
Campbell said many other U.S. Army
organizations helped to make the deployment happen,
including U.S. Army Forces Command; U.S. Army Training and
Doctrine Command; Third Army; Intelligence and Security
Command; Network Enterprise Technology Command; U.S. Army
Personnel Command; and Installation Management Command.
"As is often the case, it took a team effort with each
team member exercising disciplined initiative to accomplish
the common goal," said Campbell. "The deployment of the 2nd
Brigade speaks volumes about the adaptability of the Army
during that and subsequent periods."
By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public Affairs
Army News Service
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