By Staff Sgt. William Sallette November 4, 2013
HONOLULU, Hawaii-- The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea presented Lt. Gen. (R) Francis J. Wiercinski, former United States Army Pacific commander, the Order of National Security Merit, Gukseon Medal, in Honolulu Oct. 30.
Walter K. Paik presided over the ceremony. The Gukseon Medal is a military award granted to individuals who have rendered distinguished service to national security. Wiercinski received the Medal for his contribution to the Asia-Pacific region's security and stability as well as his active and close support to the alliance between Korea and the U.S. during his time as USARPAC commander.
"General Wiercinski is a true Soldier and a patriot," Paik said. "Throughout his career he has shown strong commitment to safeguarding the peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.
Such commitment has always provided the Korean people a sense of security and behalf of the Korean government, General Wiercinski, I express my sincere and deepest gratitude for your service and dedication."
The medal and certificate were presented to Wiercinski on behalf of the President of the Republic of Korea, Geun-Hye Park.
"I am very humbled and honored to be awarded this medal today, and I want to thank the president, all of my friends, and especially the Korean people for this great honor. Kapshi Kapshida, " Wiercinski said.
Kapshi Kapshida means "Let's Go Together" and is the official motto on the Korean peninsula between the U.S. and Republic of Korea armies.
Paik and Wiercinski concluded the ceremony with a hand shake and bowing to one another (a traditional Korean custom and show of respect).
"It is a symbol of Republic of Korea and U.S. alliance as well as a stepping stone for a stronger partnership and friendship," Paik said.