CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- More than 300 U.S. and Korean Soldiers scurried into the Flightline Tap Room on U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Dec. 14, with many having traveled several hours, to witness Korean Augmentees To the U.S. Army (KATUSA) hit the stage for the return of KATUSA’s Got Talent.
The event showcased 12 KATUSAs who prevailed out of the preliminary round the week prior.
“Seeing the faces of people in the crowd alongside U.S. service members cheering on the KATUSAs is the best part,” Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Lemon, USAG Humphreys. “It’s all about making sure our KATUSAs feel like they are absolutely part of the team. It is a unique partnership we have. The U.S. Army is the only service that has a program between an allied partner. So, it’s great to focus on them.”
The event, which was on hiatus for five years during the COVID-19 pandemic, featured performances from KATUSAs from U.S. commands throughout the Korean Peninsula.
“It was precious seeing the KATUSAs and U.S. Soldiers and their families all here in one place to cheer and support the event as one big team,” said Republic of Korea Army (ROK) Command Sgt. Maj. Jung, Haesik. “This was an opportunity for the KATUSA Soldiers to show their dedication for the country as they promote the ROK-U.S. Alliance.”
Some KATUSAs sang Korean love ballads while others rapped original works or familiar U.S. songs. A few performed hip-hop or modern dance routines. Third-place winner Sgt. Yo Han Shin, from the Tango Security Force, wooed judges and audiences with a traditional Korean fan dance.
After each performance, guest judges provided feedback. The judges included Korean music legends Tiger JK and Yoon Mi-rae, who were impressed by many of the performances.
First-place winner Pfc. Ha Jin Kim closed out the night, with his mastery of vocal percussion, stirring a call for an encore performance.
“It was great to perform in the competition alongside fellow KATUSAs,” said Kim, “I thank Camp Humphreys for this opportunity.”
Several members of Kim’s unit, the 2501st Digital Liaison Detachment, which is at Camp Yongin, made the hour-long journey to support him.
“This event gave KATUSAs a chance to illustrate the ROK-U.S. alliance,” Kim added. “This event helps express the bond between our two nations.”