By Cpl. Jung Han Soh (Daegu)April 23, 2017
United States Army Garrison Daegu Commander Col. Ted Stephens visited Korea Army Academy at Yeongcheon to give a lecture to junior and senior Cadets about host nation operations and relationship building based on his military experiences on Apr. 19.
"These small changes that general Seo has made in a short period time impressed me tremendously, said Stephens. "One of the things was the smile. As anytime I am involved with our ROK partners, I am always impressed. I did not serve in Korea until I was a Lieutenant Colonel. I was a battalion commander up near to the Demilitarized Zone at Dongducheon. I told you how happy I am to serve here and that's just one of the thing I would like to talk about when I'm amazed at the progress the Republic of Korea has made since our grandfathers fought in the Korean War."
Stephens also had office calls with Maj. Gen. Seo, Jung-yeol, the superintendent of the KAAY and Brig. Gen. Lee, Hyung-woo, the dean of academic board of KAAY. Seo gave a big welcome and gratitude to Stephens for visiting KAAY and giving lecture to Cadets.
KAAY is the Republic of Korea Army Military Academy for the undergraduate education and military training of officers. It is located in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea. KAAY is the only military academy in the world to accept transferred juniors from universities and train them for two years before they are given the commission of second lieutenants.
There was originally only one Army academy in Korea, the Korea Military Academy. However, as the North Korea's threats reached its peak in 1968, it came to attention that more officers were needed in the ROK Army to lead Soldiers the right way. So, the same year, the KAAY was found on Oct. 15.
I know myself when I was a platoon leader as a lieutenant, I wish I would have done things a little bit different," said Stephens. "I was probably too friendly with my Soldiers. Although I thought I was doing the right thing, I compromised my position to enforce good order of discipline which ultimately platoon leaders that what we are responsible for."
Stephens advise the Cadets to think about how the platoon leader should treat and deal with their Soldiers.
"So, to the future platoon leaders, I would encourage you to remain in charge," said Stephens. "But I don't mean being so aggressive, dogmatic and be angry, yell and scream. Just like your superintendent talks about the smile, talks about the love. You can do that while still maintaining the distance between the leader and the led. You are not going to have the right answer today. It does require some introspective thought and figure out how you're going to do it. They have to respect you as the leader and you have to show respect and love for them but that doesn't mean that you're their buddy."