By Sgt. Kevin Frazier (IMCOM)April 15, 2013
SEOUL, Republic of Korea -- It was a night to remember for 80 Soldiers across the Republic of Korea as the United Service Organizations (USO) with the help of several business partners and guests, honored service members during the 42st Annual Six Star Salute at the Seoul Grand Hyatt, April 11.
The Six Star Salute began in 1970, when a group of Korean civic leaders decided to express their country's gratitude to exemplary enlisted soldiers serving throughout the Republic of Korea. Since then their mission of honoring outstanding Soldiers has continued.
The event began with a presentation of the 80 selected Soldiers, who marched under uplifted swords before taking their seats at tables throughout the ballroom. After the Soldiers were presented, Tong Soo Chung, President of the USO Advisory Council of Korea, spoke about the ROK-US Alliance, the Soldiers honored by the USO and the future of relations between the two countries.
"This event is our way of showing our service members, families and civilians our appreciation for all that they do for our country," said Tony Davis, country director for USO Korea. "So we dedicate one day each year to promote a bunch of enlisted guys to the honorary rank of Six Star."
"These honorees exemplify the best of the best in our Armed Forces," Chung said. "I want to congratulate you all on your accomplishments and it is my honor to serve in the Republic of Korea with each and every one of you.
Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jonas, deputy commander, United Nations Command Korea, was the keynote speaker. He thanked all who attended and congratulated all of the awardees.
"It gives me great pleasure to be amongst all of these outstanding service members," Jonas said. I know you all will enjoy these two days of camaraderie and friendship the USO has provided for all of your hard work and dedication to increase the ROK-US alliance."
Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, commanding general of Eighth Army, and Gen. Kwon Oh-sung, deputy commanding general for Combined Forces Command, led a toast for the Soldiers being awarded, and to the continued strength of the ROK-US Alliance.
After the speeches, the Soldiers were treated to dinner and a show, with live music from the Eight Army Band and other entertainment. Scholarships were presented to four of the Soldiers, and door prizes donated by the various sponsors of the event were drawn.
"I also would like to take a moment to thank all of our sponsors for their coordination in helping to make this event a success," Davis said.