USAG HUMPHREYS, South Korea – A small group of Soldiers were honored at a ceremony by Chung Sye-kyun, prime minister of the Republic of Korea, Yumi Hogan, the first lady of the state of Maryland and the Korean Informational Association (KORINF).
The ROK-U.S. Leaders Peace Forum awards ceremony, which traditionally takes place at the National Assembly Proceeding Hall, the South Korean capitol building in Seoul, this year, was held at the Pacific Victors Chapel on Camp Humphreys due to COVID-19 restrictions.
During the ceremony, Staff Sgt. Kendra Brandon, the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade Religious Affairs noncommissioned officer, was one of a select few NCOs to receive the Korean Peninsula Peace Medal.
Col. David Bowlus, chaplain for United States Forces Korea, was also one of those honored during the event and served as one of the speakers and presenters of the medals.
“On behalf of all the recipients, I would like to thank the Korean Informational Association for this incredible ceremony and honoring us,” said Bowlus. “KORINF is a very special organization dedicated to building a lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.”
The recipients of the medals, Bowlus explained, were selected from the senior religious leaders serving in the U.S. military throughout USFK. As religious leaders, he said, they play a vital role in deterring war and building peace.
“We feel like we are part of this country and part of the efforts to restore peace to the Korean Peninsula,” said Bowlus.
The prime minister and first lady of Maryland, unable to attend the ceremony this year in person, provided prerecorded remarks. Each congratulated the U.S. service members on being selected to receive the peace medals and thanked them for their service and their continued commitment to peace on the Korean peninsula.
The Korean Peninsula Peace Medals the recipients received were made from melting and combining pieces of rusty barbed wire from the DMZ and empty bullet casings that were used during the war. Implements of war became a symbol of peace presented to military members promoting peace.