Eighth Army pays tribute to fallen Cheonan heroes
March 27, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (March 27, 2012) -- Eighth Army marked the second anniversary of the attack on the Republic of Korea Navy Ship Cheonan that claimed 46 ROK sailors.
Senior ROK-U.S. Alliance leaders attended a memorial ceremony at the Eighth Army headquarters March 27.
Among the senior leaders was retired Gen. Paik Sun-yup, a Korean War hero who was the ROK Army's first four-star general; Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General Brig. David J. Conboy; Eighth Army Chief of Staff Col. Donald Jackson and Eighth Army Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Harris.
The leaders placed white Chrysanthemums at a memorial to honor the ROK sailors who died defending their nation.
The ceremony also honored ROK Navy Chief Warrant Officer Han Jo-ho who died during rescue operations.
The Cheonan sank after an explosion split the ship in half during a routine naval patrol off South Korea's west coast near the maritime border, March 26, 2010.
A South Korean-led international investigation that included experts from the United States, Canada, Britain, Sweden and Australia determined that the ship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo fired from a midget submarine.
The Cheonan attack was followed eight months later by North Korea's unprovoked shelling of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island. The artillery attack killed two ROK marines and two civilians and destroyed numerous homes and businesses on the island.
"This incident was yet another reminder that the war on the Korean Peninsula has never really been settled," said Conboy.
The Eighth Army deputy commanding general said almost 450 South Korea and 100 U.S. service members have been killed during North Korean provocations since the Korean War Armistice was signed in 1953.
"The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of our combined nation's armed forces have learned a valuable lesson from this attack, that we must always be ready to decisively counter any provocation," said Conboy.
Conboy said the attack on the Cheonan was a reminder of the importance of having trained and ready forces to deter or defeat aggression against South Korea.
"That is why we must continue to maintain our combined defense and our combined readiness in the face of this formidable threat," said Conboy. "We must continue to hold tough and realistic training as often as possible as we do with our ROK allies and we must always be prepared to fight and to win."
"We serve and live here ever vigilant against all who threaten the security of this nation and the stability of this region," said Conboy.