Eighth Army hosts reunion for KATUSA veterans
November 1, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea - Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army veterans and their families visited here Oct. 27 and enjoyed a homecoming day.
More than two hundred former KATUSAs, including 15 Korean War KATUSA veterans, and their families from around the world attended the event.
The purpose of the event was to show Eighth Army's appreciation to the KATUSA veterans and their families.
The event started with a visit to the Eighth Army headquarters building, and after taking group photos, headed to the Yongsan Multi-purpose Training Facility.
Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Operations Maj. Gen. Walter Golden, Republic of Korea Army Support Group Commander Col. Lee Suk-jae, Assistant Chief of Staff Col. Jeffrey D'Antonio, KATUSA Veterans Association Chairman Kim Jong-Wook and Korean-Japanese Student Volunteers Soldiers Veterans Association Chairman Kim Byung-Ik Association attended the event.
"Today is a day where you can feel free to brag about yourself to your family. Also feel free to tell your American colleagues that we are still their friends," said Chairman Kim. "We are the cornerstone of the ROK-U.S. Alliance, which is the key to the world peace."
During the visit, Golden awarded Korean War KATUSA veteran Staff Sgt. Park Tae-hwan with the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in connection with U.S. military combat operations against North Korean enemy forces from July 15 - 27, 1953, in the Gumhwa battle. Park served in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Regiment of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division during the Korean War.
Participants then moved to the dining facility and took time to remember the meals they had during service time. The KATUSA veterans gathered in small groups, talking about their memories and their experiences with the U.S. Army to their families. While they were talking, the smiles did not leave from their faces.
Former KATUSA Sgt. Lee Eun-jae, who entered the Army in 1996 and served as a Military Policeman in the 2nd Infantry Division on Camp Page, said, "Since I am engaged in international trade, my experiences with the U.S. culture and my English ability are very helpful when I go abroad for business, feeling friendlier and understanding how Americans think."
Another former KATUSA Sgt. Shin Jae-won, who entered in 1988 as an artilleryman in Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 15th Artillery Regiment with the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division, said, "Looking around this garrison, I hope I could serve as a KATUSA once more even just for a moment."
Lee Eun-Jae, who served as a military band member at Camp Walker in 1979, said to junior KATUSAs, "I hope those junior and future KATUSAs would have strong bonds with each other and keep in touch even after their [service is complete], like us now."