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3ID soldiers deploy to Korean Peninsula for 1st time since the war

The 3rd Infantry Division is back on the Korean Peninsula for the first time since the Korean War.

The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Stewart, Ga., began a nine-month rotation Friday by unfurling its unit colors at Eighth Army’s new headquarters south of Seoul.

The “Raider Brigade” replaces soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas.

“This is the first time soldiers wearing the 3ID patch have served [on the peninsula] since fighting in the Korean War,” Raider Brigade commander Col. Mike Adams said at the ceremony.

The soldiers will continue the division’s commitment to defense of a country that’s technically still fighting the Korean War, Adams said. Hostilities ended in 1953 with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

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“We will fulfill the requirement for [the armored brigade combat team] to support 2nd Infantry Division in deterring North Korean aggression and maintaining peace,” he said.

The new arrivals make up the fifth rotational brigade to come to South Korea since 2ID’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team – known as the “Iron Brigade” — inactivated in July 2015. The unit was the last permanently stationed brigade combat team on the peninsula.

2ID commander Maj. Gen. Scott McKean told the Raider Brigade that “the armored brigade combat team is the most lethal formation in our Army,” and that their unit was “ready to take the mantle of responsibility.”

The brigade arrives during a period of relative calm as North and South Korea and the U.S. compete in the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang. However, tensions are expected to rise once U.S. and South Korean forces resume peninsula-wide exercises that were postponed by the games.

Next Wednesday, another rotational unit — 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment — will arrive in South Korea to replace 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery regiment. Both units hail from Fort Sill, Okla., Eighth Army officials said in an email.

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© 2018 the Stars and Stripes

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