Jan. 7, 2014 – By Michelle Tan – Defense news
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Hood, Texas, will deploy to Camps Hovey and Stanley in South Korea. (Army)
About 800 soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division will deploy to South Korea in February, the Defense Department announced today.
The soldiers from 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Hood, Texas, will deploy to Camps Hovey and Stanley, near the Demilitarized Zone, in South Korea.
They will conduct operations in support of U.S. Forces Korea and Eighth Army, according to the DoD announcement.
“The battalion will provide a trained and combat-ready force that will deploy with their equipment to South Korea,” the announcement states. “The equipment will remain in country for use by follow-on rotations. The soldiers will return to Fort Hood upon completion of their nine-month rotation.”
The deployment of 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry to Korea is part of America’s “enduring rebalancing efforts within the Asia-Pacific region, and allows for greater responsiveness to better meet theater operational requirements,” according to DoD.
It also signals a move by the Army to potentially replace individual tours to Korea with deployments of trained and equipped combat units.
The Army has been studying a plan that would rotate units in and out of South Korea, which officials have said will result in formations that are more ready and trained to higher levels.
In an interview in October, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said the Army is working closely with Korea on its plan.
“I am confident we will be able to do that,” he said. “They are our strong partners and we [want to] make sure we are building confidence that they understand that we will provide them a more ready brigade and a more capable brigade if we rotate.”
Such a commitment would mark a significant change in the way the Army has done business for years, and the practice would increase the readiness of units stationed in one of the most volatile parts of the world.
The Army has about 19,000 soldiers stationed in South Korea, including the 2nd Infantry Division headquarters and the division's 1st Brigade Combat Team.
Other major units include the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, the 1st Signal Brigade, the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, the 65th Medical Brigade, the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade and Eighth Army.