84th Engineers learn about Korean culture

| April 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

2nd Lt. Laura Beth Beebe
84th Engineer Battalion Public Affairs, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

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8th TSC

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — School was in session, March 23, to prepare leaders of the 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, for possible deployments throughout the Pacific.

Dr. Sasha Vovin, professor of East Asian languages and literature at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, taught about the Republic of Korea, or ROK.

Vovin emphasized the importance of being aware of cultural differences and courtesies and passed on what he calls “survival hints.” The lesson for Soldiers, he said, is to remember that when they are deployed, they not only represent the U.S. Army, but are also ambassadors to allied nations.

“I am privileged to be given this opportunity to give you leaders a ‘101’ on Korea, as you may get the opportunity to serve in this area,” Vovin said.

Learning about other cultures is especially important for engineers, as many of their missions and exercises send them throughout the Pacific region.

As the only modular construction effects engineer battalion in U.S. Army-Pacific, the 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., has an important role in exercises like Ulchi Freedom Guardian, an annual exercise that takes place in the ROK in August. The exercise aims to improve planning, readiness and interoperability; enhance security relations; and demonstrate the U.S.’s resolve to support the ROK.

Vovin’s interactive lecture covered many of the unique aspects of the Korean Peninsula, including history, religion, politics and culture. Because the ROK is such a diverse country, it was important for the 84th Bn.’s leaders to get the best training possible about the environment in which they will spend time or be sending Soldiers to.

Engineers expect to team up with their ROK military counterparts during any exercise in country. Understanding cultural differences, including what type of behavior is and isn’t acceptable, is vital to building good relations between U.S. and ROK Soldiers.

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Category: News, Training

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