2nd Infantry Division - US Army
Though formed before the Korean war, the 2nd Infantry Division was a pivotal during the Korean conflict.
With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea during the summer of 1950, the 2d Inf. Div. was alerted for movement to the Far East. The division arrived in Korea via Pusan on July 23, becoming the first unit to reach Korea directly from the United States. Initially employed piecemeal, the entire division was committed to relieve the 24th Infantry Division at the Naktong River Line on Aug. 24, 1950. The 2d Inf. Div. was the first unit to break out of the Pusan perimeter. It later led the Eighth Army's drive to the Manchurian border. When Chinese forces entered the fight, soldiers of the 2nd Inf. Div. protected the rear flank of the Eighth Army as it retired to the south. In April and May 1951, the 2d Inf. Div. was instrumental in smashing the communist spring offensive. On April 9, 1953, the division was moved to a rear area, and on Aug. 20, 1954 -- four years after its last unit had arrived in Korea - - the 2nd Inf. Div. re-deployed to the United States. - globalsecurity.org
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Korean war, the communist North Korea obliterated the inadequate South Korean forces and completely occupied the Korean peninsula. South Korean forces setup a perimeter around a small area in the southeastern corner of the peninsula as a last stand effort. A message was sent to the US president by South Korea's president. "They are trying to make slaves of us, but we won't be taken slaves again."(paraphrase) General Douglas MacArthur went ashore to assess the situation and decide whether or not to commit US troops. On the coast he met a South Korean soldier manning a guard post along the shore. This is a paraphrase of the short conversation they had:
MacArthur: What are you doing?
Korean Soldier: Guarding my post.
MacArthur: And what will you do if North Korea breaks through to here?
Korean Soldier: Then I will defend my post until my last breath.
This conversation had a profound impact on MacArthur, and soon after that he agreed to commit the United States to the Korean conflict.
Known as the Warrior Division, the 2nd Infantry Division is the key American combat force on the peninsula of Korea.
The Division motto is Second to none, Fight tonight. It's mission is to maintain warfighting proficiency as a deterrence and transition to war in response to North Korean aggression.
The Warrior Division is often called the most forward deployed, lethal, and combat ready division in the world. In peace, it maintains combat power by rigorous training and field time. In war, it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our South Korean allies in the first echelon of defense immediately south of the DMZ, or 38th Parallel.
2ID is composed of the following units:
1st "Iron" Brigade - Camp Casey
2nd Brigade "Strike Force" - Deployed to Iraq in 2004
3rd Brigade "Arrowhead Brigade" - Stryker Brigade, Fort Lewis
DIVARTY "Warrior Thunder" - Division Artillery, considered to largest and most lethal in the Army
Aviation Brigade - Three Apache Battallions
Engineer Brigade - Three Engineer Battallions
DISCOM - Composed of numerous support battallions
In addition to these large units, there are numerous small support companies and MI units.
Now I'll level with you. A lot of guys come to Korea and aren't impressed. The combat arms units such as 4-7Cav and 2-9Inf are tough units with a good state of readiness. My experiences are slightly different. I was first assigned to the 2nd Military Police company. These MPs were combat MPs first, then had additional law enforcement duties in and around the Camp area. We worked hard, and played hard, but were plagued with leadership problems and extremely low morale. Now I've been reassigned to the 4th Chemical Company. This Chemical company's job is to decontaminate Americans and our allies in the event that weapons of mass destruction are used against us in war. This means lots of time spent in full chemical gear and protective mask. I'm in the 4th Decontamination platoon, so that's what we do. We decon. We also have an NBC reconnaisance platoon, and a smoke platoon (provides smoke on the battlefield, to obscure operations). This unit is plagued with the same problems as any support unit in a combat division. A lot of soldiers in support units such as this feel they have something to prove, and walk around yelling with their chests stuck out. They pump themselves up, and stress about childish things. Things in units like this are usually totally by the book, and it makes things annoying and childish. I live on Camp Casey now, and am moving to Camp Hovey to the Battle Troops Battallion.
I feel that in wartime, the 2nd Infantry Division would execute its mission with extreme discipline, but all this sitting around in seclusion from the rest of the world means this division has a sort of stale feel. We frequently have problems with old equipment, and getting supplies, because everything is diverted to Iraq and Afghanistan.
For soldiers, a tour in 2ID means hardship. You are secluded, there is a curfew 7 days a week, 365 days a year, frequent division alerts (practice for when the DPRK crosses the line), and strict dress code and conduct rules. This division is one of the most strict in the Army. Not to mention the boredom and seclusion. It's a hard tour, but a good place to learn warfighting skills and make rank. Lots of soldiers come here to take a break from the deployment cycle, but that doesn't help the absence of family and a social life. 2ID has the highest rate of alcohol related incidents in the entire Army. They say the quickest way to make Specialist is to come to 2ID as a Sergeant. Also, the male to female ratio is something like 10:1 or worse.
For a better breakdown of 2IDs structure, visit this website.
Also, 2ID is in transition. Right now, the plan is to pull 2ID off the border and further south, and even so far as to leave the peninsula. Right now, the remaining combat arms units are restructuring into the Army's new system called a Unit of Action, or Unit of Execution. It's a modular structure system for maneuvering combat units.