17 June 2015

Closing Up Shop in Korea

We're closing down the'Iron' Brigade of 2ID(M) in Korea.

Spring cleaning was a bigger chore than usual for the 1st “Iron” Brigade Combat Team this year. Soldiers have been clearing out gear accumulated from 50 years on the Korean Peninsula.

In Korea since July 1965, the Iron Brigade is preparing to inactivate and turn over its mission to 4,600 soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team. The Fort Hood, Texas-based unit will be the first rotational heavy brigade to deploy to South Korea when it takes over July 2.

Members of 1st Brigade have been going through nooks and crannies at Camp Hovey, their base just south of the Demilitarized Zone, and turning in excess equipment that has piled up over the decades.

Lt. Col. Darrell O’Steen, 45, of Douglas, Ga., 1st Brigade’s deputy commander, said it won’t be simple swapping permanently stationed soldiers for rotational troops.

When the unit cases its colors, its tanks, armored personnel carriers and other tactical vehicles will stay in Korea. The 2nd Brigade troops will use them during their rotation and pass them onto the unit that replaces them nine months later, O’Steen said.

The transfer of duties to the incoming troops will be similar to handovers in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, but it will be complicated by the need to maintain “fight tonight readiness all the way to the end,” according to 1st Brigade executive officer Maj. Ryan Workman, 36, of Evansville, Ind.

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