|President's Father Visits Soldiers in Korea |
President's Father Visits Soldiers in Korea
By Spc. Heather Hilton, Army News Service.
Camp Casey, Korea -- (ANS) November 13, 2001-- "I've never been so proud to be an American," exclaimed the 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, to 2nd Infantry Division soldiers as they celebrated the grand opening of the Prescott Bush United Services Organization Building on Camp Casey, Nov. 9.
Bush assured the soldiers of United States Forces Korea that the fight against terrorism would be successful.
"The President (George W. Bush) has total confidence in this military," said Bush.
Bush, guest of honor at the USO dedication ceremony, is the son of late Sen. Prescott Bush (R-Conn.), the USO's first chairman.
The all-day USO event began with 16 teams of soldiers participating in a 10-kilometer guidon race. Starting at the front door of the newly re-furbished USO building, 160 soldiers ran to Camp Hovey and back, bearing their units' guidons and representing the spirit of all those who benefit from the USO's programs.
Morning events also included a tomahawk-throwing contest.
Mike "Iron Post" Kolisch, world tomahawk-throwing champion, held the competition for soldiers who wanted to show their warrior spirit.
Early in the afternoon, Bush -- accompanied by Thomas Hubbard, U.S. ambassador to Korea; Gen. Thomas Schwartz, United States Forces Korea commander in chief; Lt. Gen. Daniel Zanini, commander, 8th U.S. Army; Maj. Gen. Russel Honoré, 2nd Inf. Div. commanding general; and Command Sgt. Maj. Barry Wheeler, 2nd Inf. Div. command sergeant major -- joined 250 1st Brigade soldiers for a celebratory lunch at Hanson Field House.
The 2nd Inf. Div. Band filled the hall with music as Bush made his way around to every table, speaking with the soldiers and encouraging their efforts in supporting the United States during what he sees as a time of great distress following the Sept. 11 disasters.
USO director D.J. Stanhope welcomed the guests.
After an enthusiastic introduction by Honoré, Bush spoke of his son, President George W. Bush, and the state of affairs in the United States.
"The country's united. I think we'll stay united. He's (President George W. Bush) blessed with great teammates," said Bush, referring to all those serving in the military and the presidential cabinet. "Thank you for serving with such honor."
Following a heartfelt performance by Staff Sgt. James Buckley, 8th U.S. Army Band vocalist, and the 2nd Inf. Div. Band of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A.," Bush moved to the USO building where he greeted and congratulated the winners of the guidon race and tomahawk throw.
Bush also met representatives from the Family Readiness Group, The Federation of Korean Industries, the USO Council, United States Army Garrison Camp Casey, and soldiers from the 702nd Main Support Battalion and the 302nd Forward Support Battalion dining facilities.
Bush then joined more than 150 soldiers and guests for the unveiling of a monument honoring Sen. Prescott Bush (R-Conn).
Stanhope explained how Prescott Bush worked in 1941 to launch the original USO. He served as a chairman for the organization and contributed generously toward raising $33 million for the organization during World War II, said Stanhope.
Following the unveiling, the USO was opened for business with an official ribbon cutting. Bush, Schwartz, Honoré and Stanhope participated in cutting the red, white and blue ribbon. They were joined by Elaine Losey, executive director of USO Korea; retired Gen. John Tilelli, president of the USO; Kim, Kwang S., chairman of the FKI and a 200 million won donor to the USO; Chang, Suk Eun, president and CEO of Green Millennium Industries, another major donor to the USO; Hack, Yong Pyo, president of the USO council Korea; and Ambassador Hubbard.
Bush and the other guests then observed some tomahawk throwing and a 125-man Tae Kwon Do demonstration.
"Duty, honor and country meant a lot to my dad, to me, and to the president of the United States today," said Bush, as he thanked United States Forces Korea and Camp Casey USO for honoring his father and for their service and duty to their country.
(Editor's note: Spc. Heather Hilton is a staff writer for the Indianhead newspaper serving the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.)