People make up the bonds that hold the Eighth Army and Republic of Korea alliance together. One of those people is Staff Sgt. Daniel Velez of Eighth Army’s G9 staff. The Civil Information Management NCO was recognized July 10 at Pyeongtaek City Hall for his work in compiling COVID-19 data for Eighth Army, which is also shared with the city of 500,000 people to help with its plans and operations combatting the virus.
Mayor Jung, Jang-seon, presented Velez and U.S Air Force Capt. Gregory Smith of Osan Air Base with plaques of appreciation. The mayor said the relationship between Pyeongtaek and U.S. Forces Korea is strong and thanked the two for their efforts in helping the city prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the pandemic here in South Korea, Velez has been crunching and compiling COVID-19 data from both local and continental United States sources. The data is then sent to U.S. Forces Korea for its coronavirus operations and ultimately shared with Pyeongtaek City.
“They’re able to see what is currently happening on post and what is currently happening off post,” Velez said. “When we had the occurrence of cases on Camp Humphreys, they were able to see how quickly and actively we were tracing each one. They were seeing how quickly we were organized and taking care of the response to include all the other posts on the Korean peninsula.”
Being the home to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, it’s vital for information to be shared between Pyeongtaek and Eighth Army headquarters. Velez’s Eighth Army COVID-19 data helps Pyeongtaek officials see where virus hotspots are occurring on and around Camp Humphreys and also helps the city plan by seeing virus data from Army post locations in the U.S. where Soldiers coming to Korea are leaving from.
“When the virus began to hit Camp Humphreys personnel, we were managing all the information,” said Velez. “We were tracking each case, what roads (a person drove on), bus and taxi routes, and supplying the data to USFK and Pyeongtaek. Pyeongtaek City was given access to our COVID-19 data including what was happening in the continental United States.”
Velez said he’s honored and humbled to be recognized by the Pyeongtaek mayor and continues to manage Eighth Army information on COVID-19 cases so “we can develop a clear understanding for the commander so he can make the right decisions.”