Eighth Army leaders joined KATUSA Veterans Association members to honor current KATUSA Soldiers and commemorate former ones at the 2021 KATUSA Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the River Bend Golf Course on U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea, June 16.
The Korean Augmentation to the United States Army Soldier Program dates back to the beginning of the Korean War on July 15, 1950. It started with an informal agreement between then South Korean President Syngman Rhee and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, who at the time was commander in chief of United Nations Command.
Guest speakers for the dinner included Lt. Gen. Bill Burleson, Eighth Army commanding general, and Mr. Kim, Hae-Sung, chairman of the KATUSA Veterans Association.
The highlight of the night was the recognition of five current KATUSA Soldiers for their outstanding service.
The following KATUSAs received Best KATUSA Awards:
Sgt. Kim, Han Sol, Eighth Army Wightman Noncommissioned Officer Academy / KATUSA Training Academy
병장 김한솔, 단본부 카투사교육대
Sgt. Baik, In Chul, 65th Medical Brigade, 95th Medical Detachment, Blood Support
병장 백인철, 주한물자 지원단 혈액관리 중대
Cpl. Kim, Jong Ju, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Eighth Army
상병 김종주, 미8군 본부대대 지원대
Cpl. Kim, Kang Beom, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Rotational Unit)
상병 김강범, 미2사단 2전투대대
Cpl. Choi, Jae Hun, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division
상병 최재훈, 미2사단 210 포병여단 본부포대
In addition to the Best KATUSA Awards, the 2021 Eighth Army Distinguished Former KATUSA Award went to Mr. Choi, Kyoo-Ok, a former KATUSA who is now a successful businessman in South Korea.
The original concept of the KATUSA program was to augment the U.S. fighting forces just after the outbreak of the Korean War. After the armistice, KATUSA Soldiers remained with U.S. Army in Korea units to receive training that was not readily available in the Republic of Korea Army and to enhance Army in Korea's mission capability.
Today, initial-entry ROK Army Soldiers can apply to become KATUSAs and serve side-by-side with U.S. Army Soldiers stationed in Korea contributing to one of the greatest alliances on Earth.
The mission today of the KATUSA Soldier Program is to augment the U.S. Army in Korea with ROK Army Soldiers in order to increase the ROK/U.S. combined defense capability on the Korean peninsula. The KATUSA Soldier Program is significant not only because of the military manpower and monetary savings that it provides to the U.S. Army, but also because it represents ROK/U.S. cooperation and the combined commitment to deter war. The KATUSA Soldier Program is also symbolic of ROK/U.S. friendship and mutual support.