By Cpl. Chun, Taek-Jun, USAG Daegu Public AffairsNovember 17, 2016
Col. Ted Stephens had opportunity to visit Korea Army Academy at Yeongcheon and give speech to the cadets on November 17. This visit was scheduled two months ago as a request from the KAAY, for Stephens to speak in front of the cadets and give advice to the future officers of Republic of Korea Army. He spoke about his career and experience as a platoon leader and armor officer and also answered questions from the cadets.
"Be a strong leader", said Stephens. "Do not cross those lines where you cannot impose good orders and discipline should you correct the Soldier for misconduct. When you are more over on Soldier's side, it is much harder not to cross the line. You compromise yourself as a leader. Treating your subordinates with dignity and respect cannot be overstated. When you treat them with dignity and respect, then you get trust. They trust you as their leader. They trust that you have the best interest and stake. With that, you get the momentum in the organization and can accomplish the goals."
KAAY is an academy where cadets are educated to be an officer at the Republic of Korea Army. There were originally one Army academy in Korea, the Korea Military Academy. However, during the North Korean threats in 1960s, it came to attention that more officers are needed in the Army to lead the Soldiers to right way. So the Korean government opened 'Short-term Military Academy' and 'Korea Army Academy at Yeongcheon' in 1968, and in 1972 both academies were combined to be the KAAY we know. KAAY is also special because it only accepts juniors from universities and train them for two years before they get commissions to become second lieutenants.
"Thank you for coming to give speech, and I hope we have more opportunities to do so", said Brig. Gen. Lee, Eu Seong to Col. Stephens. "I have also learned a lot from U.S. officers. It is important to learn from the veterans. I hope the cadets learn a lot from Colonel Stephens from his lecture."
He also noted that he hoped there were more events like this where U.S. officers come to give lectures to the cadets, because one of the good things of KAAY is that the academy is close to the United States Army Garrison Daegu, so cadets could learn from their strong ally, U.S. Army. "The cadets will become platoon leaders when they get their commissions. Colonel Stephens talked about what he had experienced as a platoon leader and gave advice about being one. It is really valuable advice", said 1st Lieutenant Oh, Hae Young.
"It was fun but too short", said Stephens. "I've enjoyed this opportunity to speak in front of the cadets. I hope the cadets had their messages received and they have benefited from them. It is important to engage in every opportunity we can to help our Republic of Korean partners."