Air Defenders participate historical parade in Suwon
Lt. Col. William Darne (center), commander of the 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion, participates in a historic parade in Suwon, South Korea.

SUWON, South Korea - Soldiers from the 6th Battalion, 52d Air Defense Artillery proudly marched in traditional Korean military costumes as part of Suwon's annual historical re-enactment of a key moment in Korean history.

Wearing traditional military garb instead of uniforms and carrying spears instead of M-16s, the Soldiers have become an iconic part of the parade through the historic site of Hwaseong Fortress.

"The reaction of the Korean people was really great, " said Capt. Raleigh Voight, the battalion signal officer. "The Soldiers had a great time and the Koreans just loved it."

The American Soldiers support the Suwon event with volunteer hours and participate in the parade every year.

The march was along a route of about two miles from Suwon's Manseok Park, along Jeongjo-ro, through the massive walls of Hwaseong Fortress via Janganmun, the north gate, to the palace constructed as an alternate capital for the historic Joseon Dynasty.

The parade then moved to the southern gate known as Paldalmun, where the volunteers boarded buses to return to Suwon Air Base.

The parade was sponsored entirely by Suwon, with volunteers receiving free lunches and bus rides to and from Suwon and Osan Air Bases.

The Suwon parade re-enacts the march of King Jeongjo, who built the wall and palace in Suwon around 1799.

Page last updated Fri October 14th, 2011 at 00:00