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A Strong Bond and Friendship
by U.S. Army Pfc. Chung Il Kim - December 31, 2014

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea - Since the disastrous Korean War in the 1950's, the alliance between the United States of America and South Korea has grown stronger each year. In the succeeding decades of constant threats and military provocations from North Korea, the relationship between the U.S. and South Korea has been built on mutual trust and shared hardship. This alliance has not grown with one giant leap, but with thousands of small steps.

On Nov. 22, 2014 ... Soldiers from the 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Avn. Brigade and Pyeongtaek University students took another step toward closer friendship.

All Soldiers from 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade and Pyeongtaek University students stop to pose for photos after hiking Mt. Woomyeon on Nov. 22, 2014 at Mt. Woomyeon, South Korea. (Courtesy Photo)
All Soldiers from 4th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade and Pyeongtaek University students stop to pose for photos after hiking Mt. Woomyeon on Nov. 22, 2014 at Mt. Woomyeon, South Korea. (Courtesy Photo)

As part of the brigade's Good Neighbor Program, nine Soldiers from 4-2 ARB led by 1st Lt. Sarah Jeon, and seven Pyeongtaek University students climbed Mt. Woomyeon together. The purpose of the Good Neighbor Program is to bring the Soldiers out to Korean communities such as Pyeongtaek City, to interact and help the community with their skills and to warm hearts. The program holds more than 60 events annually ranging from teaching English classes at the middle school to supporting communities to other volunteer work.

The most recent volunteer trip was hiking Mt. Woomyeon, a popular attraction for its picturesque scenery, located in Seochodong Seochogu, Seoul. While climbing through the dense forest, Jeon and 4-2 ARB Soldiers assisted the Korean students with conversational English as the students explained their college life. Although the Soldiers and students never met each other before that day and they had language barriers, the sense of sharing a common experience - hiking, or being tired - brought them close very fast.

The conversation was a mix of English and Korean, and eager hand and body gestures emphasized that each person was there to learn, and make friends. The Soldiers and students enjoyed hiking on the ruddy fallen leaves and were never bothered by the steep wooden steps, watery soil, or fine drizzle.

They arrived at the peak of Mt. Woomyeon before they knew it. Both U.S. Soldiers and Pyeongtaek University students took a break to enjoy the autumnal scenery of the mountain painted orange and yellow against a blue sky. Some Soldiers played with sports equipment for hikers. Jeon and the students talked about Army life and the difference between Korea and the U.S. Army.

As the rain drops got thicker, everyone began to descent the muddy, slippery trail. Those who went first kindly warned the ones following how slippery the trail was. Fortunately, despite the wet stairs and swampy grounds, everyone came down the mountain safely and took an amazing group photo in the Mt. Woomyeon forest.

What 4-2 ARB Soldiers and Pyeongtaek University students completed is not merely a hiking or a cultural exchange activity. Participants in the Good Neighbor Program contributed to a strong alliance and friendship, which includes Koreans and Americans, service members, Family members, and civilians; everyone working together to maintain stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.

By U.S. Army Pfc. Chung Il Kim
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2014

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