Korean, American Soldiers enjoy friendship week
April 29, 2009
- Friendship week strengthens alliance
<strong>YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea</strong> - Korean and U.S. Soldiers stationed across the peninsula participated in a special friendship week full of activities designed to strengthen the alliance April, 20-24.
In the 33rd KATUSA-U.S. Soldier Friendship Week at Yongsan, nine units faced off against each other in a variety of sporting events. Many others in the community attended cultural events and talent shows.
United States Forces Korea Commander Gen. Walter Sharp spoke during the opening ceremony at Lombardo Field.
"You represent the very best of Korean and American society," Gen. Sharp said. "Both of our nations owe you a debt of gratitude for serving so proudly and defending freedom."
"Let the games begin," U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan Commander Col. Dave Hall proclaimed at the opening ceremony.
The Republic of Korea Army Nanta Performance Group and 707th Special Missions Battalion put on musical, dance and martial arts performances following the ceremony.
"The competition was fierce," said Pfc. Jensen John, 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, following a tug-of-war triumph. "We worked as a team, U.S. Soldiers and KATUSAs together, which I think was the key to our victory."
Korean pop-stars visited Yongsan for a free show during the festive week. Featured artists included Bae Seul-ki, Jewelry S, Yoonha, Psy, Park Jung-hyun and Sori. Among the stars, Psy is currently serving in the Republic of Korea Army.
"I've performed in front of many Soldiers before," Psy said. "But each time I'm amazed at how the Soldiers can become one and have a great time. I think this is one facet of what comradeship is about."
Epic sports competitions continued throughout the week.
The preliminary rounds for soccer and softball took place on the second and third days, with the finals on Friday.
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG-Yongsan won the final soccer championship match against Special Troops Battalion-Korea in a sweeping 4-0 victory. The 94th Military Police Battalion won the softball tournament.
"Last year we advanced to the finals - only to lose against STB-K 4-3," said Sgt. Kwon Yong-jae, USAG-Yongsan soccer captain. "It's a great feeling to have beaten the very team that we lost to a year before. I'd like to thank all of the Soldiers in my unit for supporting the team."
STB-K won the most events overall, including the final relay race competition.
"I'm glad that our unit finished first place this week," said Sgt. Ahn Ji-woong. "It's a shame that we lost the final soccer game, but overall I'm very happy with the result. We all worked hard and we deserve this."
The week ended with an award ceremony and closing remarks by Commanders Lt. Col. Kevin Colyer, STB-K and Lt. Col. Lee Kyung-soo, USAG-Yongsan ROKA Support Group.
"Although one unit won it all, I think everyone out here is a winner," Lee said. "The point of this week's events was for all the Soldiers to come together and create lasting relationships. I think we've been successful, and in that regard I don't think it's too much to say that we are all victors today."
Colyer encouraged KATUSAs and U.S. Soldiers to spend more time together.
"Invite each other to one another's places and have fun together," Colyer said. "We are all partners and as the shirts that we are all wearing today say, 'We Stand Together.'"
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