Eighth Army presented Army Superior Unit Award for tackling pandemic

By Eighth Army Public Affairs OfficeNovember 22, 2022

US Army conducts Combined disinfection with Republic of Korea Army
19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and the 2nd Operations Command, Republic of Korea Army conducted a combined disinfection operation at an apartment complex in Daegu, Republic of Korea Mar. 13, 2020.

The complex experienced an outbreak of COVID-19 a little over a week ago and while the ROK Army disinfected the interior of the buildings, the outside had yet to be treated.

Donning protective gear, the combined team covered every corner of the complex with disinfecting solution in about in hour.

19th ESC volunteered to assist with the disinfection as a way to show solidarity with the ROK Army and the people of Daegu.

This is the first time ROK and US forces have worked together for this type of event. (Photo Credit: Kevin Bell)

Eighth Army and dozens of U.S. Army units across the Korean peninsula have been awarded the Army Superior Unit Award for efforts tackling the outbreak of COVID-19. The award period is January 28, 2020 to April 30, 2020, the period covering the first time a large U.S. population anywhere in the world had to confront COVID-19.

Soldiers attached to a unit during this period may wear the unit award permanently if the individual was assigned to, and present for duty with the unit any time during the period cited; or who was attached by competent orders to, and present for duty with the unit during the entire period, or for at least 30 consecutive days of the period cited.

When a Soldier is permanently awarded a unit award and is subsequently assigned to a unit that has received the same unit award, the Soldier will wear the permanent award in lieu of the temporary unit award.

Department of the Army Civilians employed with the agency during the cited period, may wear the Army Superior Unit Award lapel pin permanently.

See Permanent Order 097-0001 effective April 7, 2022, to see if your unit was awarded the ASUA: https://8tharmy.korea.army.mil/site/assets/doc/media/announcements/ASUA-Period-of-Award-28-JAN-20-to-30-APR-2020%20.pdf

Throughout history, the U.S. military has played a vital role in combating the spread of infectious diseases both on American soil and abroad. In January 2020, South Korea announced its first cases of COVID-19. Within mere weeks, the infection rate skyrocketed, turning South Korea into the second epicenter of the global pandemic.

On Feb. 20, 2020, the Korean Center for Disease Control reported 104 confirmed cases of the illness, with 57 in the city of Daegu. Due to the cluster of four Army installations in and around Daegu, the virus was at Eighth Army’s doorsteps. Overnight, the military community in Daegu became the bellwether for the Army's response to the virus. As South Korea's number of confirmed cases continued to increase, the 11,000 troops, dependents, and civilians in Daegu became the first large U.S population to confront COVID-19.

As a precaution, military leadership initiated a mass data analysis to identify service members and their families who had either traveled to or through mainland China.

The Army Superior Unit Award was established by the Secretary of the Army on April 8, 1985, to recognize outstanding meritorious performance by a unit during peacetime of a difficult and challenging mission under extraordinary circumstances. Circumstances may be deemed to be extraordinary when they do not represent the typical day-to-day circumstances under which the unit normally performs, or may reasonably be expected to perform, its peacetime mission.

- Brig. Gen. Mark T. Simerly and Maj. Antwon Person contributed to this article