By Sgt. Lee, Hosu, Eighth Army Public AffairsApril 17, 2015
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- It isn't every day that people have the chance to meet trailblazers in an industry or for a nation. Soldiers and civilians at U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan recently had such an opportunity when one of Korea's leading news correspondents visited the base in the center of Seoul, South Korea.
Lee Jin-sook was a young, up-and-coming television reporter for Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, a television company based in South Korea, during the Persian Gulf War. On Jan. 17, 1991, she filed a news story from Iraq and went to sleep. Later that evening, she was awoken by the thundering sounds of munitions exploding. Without expectation, Lee had become South Korea's first female war correspondent.
She shared her experiences as a guest speaker at an observance for Women's History Month at Yongsan Garrison's Dragon Hill Lodge Mar. 31 to a room of more than 150 Eighth Army Soldiers, Civilians and students, including distinguished guests such as Eighth Army Commanding General for Operations, Maj. Gen. Brian J. McKiernan, and Eighth Army Commanding General for Sustainment, Maj. Gen. David W. Puster.
The observance is held annually to recognize the contributions of women. This year's event included participation from students at the garrison's schools. This included color guard drill and ceremony performances from the Seoul American High School to essay readings and dancing from Seoul American Middle School students.
"It is important to have all these different groups participate in events like this because it really represents the diversity that we bring here to the peninsula, to show who we are," said Lt. Col. Yolanda Nieto, Eighth Army equal opportunity program manager.
Those in attendance were also able to obtain a history lesson from the observance as well.
"It is important to have these observances so people can learn from them," said Nieto. "Remembering the struggles that (women) have gone through and how far (women) have come in the present day."
Lee echoed similar sentiments during her remarks to attendees. Since the Persian Gulf War, she has worked her way up the chain at MBC to become the head of Daejeon's MBC affiliate. Part of her journey included a return to Iraq to cover the war in the 2000s. Lee logged thousands of miles during her second trip, including many in the then volatile Anbar Province.
Lee focused her address on three words that have been vital to her success as a female correspondent: curiosity, challenge and patience. She spoke to women who are in a similar position to where she found herself in during the Persian Gulf War, working their way up in a business or company, to be curious and to work hard to overcome challenges faced as a woman. However, she also emphasized patience in waiting for opportunities.
Lee also challenged the audience to remember all the women they see daily, such as their mothers, sisters, daughters and colleagues, and to thank them for their achievements and contributions.
"Think of their achievements and on how many of those contributions are taken for granted," Lee said. "Their dreams and triumphs are really woven into our lives and we would be much less without these amazing stories."