The US Army is set to deactivate the 2nd Infantry Division’s 1st Armoured Brigade Combat Team after nearly 50 years of service in South Korea, in June 2015.
Approved by the US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, the disbandment forms part of the Army Force Generation rotational plan to increase theatre readiness and manoeuvre capabilities on the Korean peninsula and worldwide.
A new rotational brigade combat team comprising nearly 4,600 soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is scheduled to arrive in South Korea to replace the deactivating brigade.
The Eighth Army said in a statement: "These rotations will improve the army’s ability to conduct bilateral military exercises and activities aimed at reinforcing our enduring relationship with our Korean ally, and they do not increase the overall US force strength.
"Bringing in off-pen units also exposes more US soldiers to the unique mission and threat in Korea and north-east Asia and enhances the partnership between the two armies."
Pentagon spokesperson army colonel Steve Warren was quoted by Reuters as saying that the deactivation was long-planned and did not represent a reduction in US commitment to the security of South Korea.
"There’s not loss in capability. Some would argue that the capability might even be slightly higher because it’s a trained unit that arrives there in Korea," Warren said.
Also called Iron Brigade, the 1st Armoured Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division has had an integral role in the defence of the Korean peninsula since July 1965.
In particular, the unit trained and worked alongside its South Korean partners to deter aggression, and was awarded the ROK Presidential Unit Citation on three occasions for its substantial contribution to the national security and defence of the country.
The deactivation is expected to reduce the requirement for 4,500 military jobs, and the affected soldiers will be deployed to other units within the army, according to the news agency.
Image: 1st Armoured Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division Soldiers train at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, South Korea. Photo: courtesy of the US Army.