FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) -Fort Sill is preparing to send approximately 300 soldiers to South Korea.
A deployment ceremony was held Tuesday for the 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery. The troops are known as the 'Red Dragons,' and over the next nine months their mission will be to protect Seoul, South Korea, from North Korea's long-range artillery.
With this group of soldiers, the key to a successful deployment is preparation and education. The majority of the soldiers have never deployed before, and spent time learning about South Korea's terrain and customs in hopes of avoiding culture shock. They've also spent the past several weeks training for this assignment.
The 'Red Dragons' have been training for this deployment for close to a year. They began by making sure all they're equipment was up and running correctly. They even got a chance to rehearse with an overseas army in preparation for their upcoming assignment.
"The Daring Warrior Exercise with the Singapore army was our opportunity to come together to be certified across the board with our weapons systems. And then, we were able to work with a foreign army, the Singapore army, to kind of hone our skills when we get to the Korean theater of operations," explained Lt. Col. Will B. Freds.
Lieutenant Colonel Freds says the added drill played a critical part in getting his unit ready for Korea.
"I think the opportunity to work alongside someone who doesn't necessarily speak your language or work the exact same way you do, helps prepare you for all the nuances of working in that type of environment," Lt. Col. Freds said.
This assignment to South Korea will be Private Alyscia Talbot's first deployment, and it's something she says she's ready to experience.
"I'm insanely excited. From what I've heard from people who've deployed from Korea before, everything they've told me is very interesting in terms of culture and the environment that we will be staying in. So, I'm just excited to be going on a new adventure in my life," Pvt. Talbot said.
In addition to the training with the Singaporean army, Private Talbot says she took it upon herself to learn more about the country.
"We've taken a lot of classes when it comes to Korean culture, so we're just trying to get ready to acclimate right when we get there," Pvt. Talbot said.
Lieutenant Colonel Freds and Private Talbot say the support of the Lawton community matters to the soldiers leaving loved ones behind while overseas.
"That is a big deal for the Red Dragons that we have our families back here safe and taken care of in a very patriotic and loving community," Lt. Col. Freds said.
"I've just gained this family being in Fort Sill and in Lawton all together. So, their support is going to help me over in Korea and I know I'll have a family to come back to," Pvt. Talbot said.
The 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery will be replacing another unit from Fort Hood, Texas.