2nd Infantry Division Deploys to Iraq – No, Not Really!

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 5 months ago

GI Korea at ROK Drop writes to tell us of the “delays” in redeployment of 2ID in Korea.  Drop by and read his post until it makes you rather sick.

Okay somebody give me a Hanchongnyun head band:

A proposed southward relocation of U.S. frontline troops in South Korea will be delayed for about one to two years, a government source said Sunday. The envisioned relocation of the 2nd Infantry Division of the U.S. forces in Korea (USFK) slated to be completed by 2013 will be put off because of financing problems, the government source said. [Yonhap]

Financing problems?  The Korean government has enough money to build a canal across the country and ship over a billion dollars a year to North Korea, but they don’t have enough money to move soldiers from 2ID to Camp Humphreys until 2015?  The prior agreed upon 2013 deadline was just a little over a year ago agreed upon to be pushed back fours years from the earlier agreed upon 2009 timeframe.  Which by the way was a unilaterally decided on delay by the Korean government which quickly pounced on the opportunity to cut funding and renege on the deal when the prior US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigned. 

This delay is also being done in coordination with delay efforts to stop the hand over of war time operational control from the US military to the Korean military.  Does anyone also think it is a coincidence that United States Forces Korea (USFK) commander General B.B. Bell was forced to retire because of his advocacy for maintaining the relocation plan along with the transfer of operation control?  The Korean government has long been at odds with General Bell and now with him out of the way they are free to begin their delay games with the USFK relocation plan. 

Even more suspicious is the timing of this announcement.  This announcement was released by the Korean government’s official news agency Yonhap, late on a Sunday right before new Korean president Lee Myung-bak’s big inauguration ceremony on Monday so the local papers will hardly pick up on the 2ID delay story.   

This is just more evidence that despite all the Yankee Go Home rhetoric in South Korea the truth of the matter is as the by line of this blog states, is to keep the USFK gravy train rolling along in Korea.  The Korean government has never wanted to allow the USFK relocation to Camp Humphreys just like they have never really wanted to take operational control from USFK either.

The redeployment plan was never bold enough.  If Rumsfeld (and now Gates) couldn’t be mean enough, they can turn the decision over to me; I have no problems with meanness.  Here is my plan.  2ID deploys to Iraq – where there is actually a counterinsurgency campaign going on as we speak – and this redeployment happens as fast as the aircraft can fly.

Ah, the logistics officers object!  But you have no FOB or combat outposts into which they can deploy!  You aren’t ready for them.  Well, the surge can be extended by deployment of the 2ID, and troops who have been in Iraq for 15 months can come home.  The FOBs and COPs they leave can be used by 2ID.  Or, the 2ID can pitch tents and provide force protection for a while.  After all, they are infantry, aren’t they?

Again the logistics officers object, “you just want the 2ID in theater as fast as possible to get them into the fight!”  Yes, I have been found out.  After redeployment of 2ID into an actual fight, South Korea can ponder whether they wish to continue their ridiculous “sunshine diplomacy” with North Korea.  Then, our international welfare to South Korea (who is completely capable of defending herself) can come to an end, and we can take the global war on terror seriously.

**** UPDATE ****

Friend Grim at Blackfive responds:

I trust you probably know this, but 2ID is already in the rotation for Iraq.  Their 3rd BCT was in Baghdad last summer; 4th Stryker BCT is here now; and 5th(!) BCT is training to come.  Their HQ unit is in Korea, and some of their combat forces are always in Korea when they aren’t in Iraq, but 2ID is taking their fair turn out here.

Response: Yes, I know.  They are good troopers, and for that reason I just want to get them all into the fight and out of Korea where they are not contributing.  Call me romantic.

  • http://www.rokdrop.com GI

    2ID has one heavy brigade combat team in Korea along with the division headquarters. The pulling out of the brigade would be a huge symbolic statement because that would mean that there would be no US ground combat forces in Korea, only Air Force, some Navy, logistical, and C2 units.

    Rumsfeld despite all his faults had Korea figured out and was adamant about moving 2ID and Yongsan Garrison south of Seoul and handing over war time operational control back to Korea. Korean politicians have been demagoguing this issue for years demanding this for domestic political reasons and Rumsfeld called their bluff and deployed the 2BCT from 2ID to Iraq in 2004. This was a huge shock in Korea because it showed Rumsfeld was serious about transforming the force in Korea and if Korea didn’t allow the transformation Yankee was going home.

    There were probably few nations happier then Korea when Rumsfeld resigned. Almost immediately they backed out on the agreed upon relocation and war time control handover timelines and cut USFK funding. The new Korean president is just continuing this delay, delay, delay policy because no one in Washington is pushing back against the Koreans like Rumsfeld did. Thus it looks like the USFK gravy train will continue to roll on for Korea.

You are currently reading "2nd Infantry Division Deploys to Iraq – No, Not Really!", entry #967 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Korea and was published February 24th, 2008 by Herschel Smith.

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