Cha earns individual Army safety award
July 23, 2013
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Former Capt. Peter D. Cha received the 2012 Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff Individual Award of Excellence in Safety for his service as commander of Headquarters Company (June 2011-July 2012), July 1, 2013. The presentation was made by Gen. James D. Thurman, commander UNC/CFC/USFK.
"I am very grateful for this award. Personally, it was a tremendous honor for me to even be nominated at the garrison level," Cha said. "Professionally, this award is the exclamation point for my time as the Company Commander. Safety was a priority for First Sergeant and me. This award may be an individual award, but this award should recognize just how well the Soldiers of HHC, USAG Yongsan conducted themselves every day."
Part of the award message stated: "This recipient's safety efforts clearly reflect their significant contributions to preserving Army readiness."
Cha said his safety policy during his military career highlighted individual responsibility, but also the fact that leaders must want to care for Soldiers on a personal level.
"As an officer in the United States Army, nothing was more important to me than the health and well-being of the Soldiers I served with," Cha said. "I tried to set a good example myself when I asked the Soldiers to take pride in all that they do, whether it was for work or for play. In other words, too proud to act in an unprofessional or unsafe manner."
Since his nomination for this award, Cha accepted a Department of the Army civilian position as the chief of the Design Branch of USAG Yongsan Public Works, serving the same command he did on active duty.
Although his working uniform has changed, his attitude about safety and serving his country has not.
"My dedication and commitment to the Army remains the same," Cha said. "The only difference is that now I have to think about what I will wear to work every day."
He said he is accepting this award because of the soldiers he served with.
"They made my job the easiest in USAG Yongsan. The KATUSA and U.S. Soldiers were some of the best Soldiers on the peninsula," Cha said. "I was recognized with this award because of them and I would not be where I am today without them."