Female South Korean soldiers with a U.S. pilot during joint exercises.
UIJEONGB, South Korea, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army and Republic of Korea Army are joining forces and establishing a combined division for improved readiness and defensive capabilities.
The U.S. Army said the new division will be comprised of the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division and a brigade from the South Korean Army. Its commander will be American, while his deputy will be Korean.
Officers, non-commissioned officers and units will be attached to the division, allowing interoperability and capitalization of the strengths of both armies
"The combined division construct is itself historic," said Maj. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division. "It will be the first of its kind at any time in our history. U.S. and Korean Soldiers will literally operate as one unit with one unified effort.
"Nowhere else has this been attempted to the extent that we are going to implement, and the fact that we are able to make this happen is momentous."
Integration training of the new unit staff officers, which will come under the command of the U.S. Eighth Army, is expected to begin this week.
"The goal of this unification is to cultivate adaptive capabilities to deter and defeat future provocations," Vandal said. "Together we will strengthen the alliance (between the U.S. and Korea) and enhance the defense of the ROK."
The U.S. Army said the new division will be initially located at Camp Red Cloud Uijeonbu but will later move south to Pyeongtak.