SEOUL, Republic of Korea - Republic of Korea / U.S. Army chaplains conducted combined unit ministry team training at the War Memorial of Korea and Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery, July 25.
The chaplains honored their history of service during the Korean War and engaged with each other to learn how to better serve the community.
“Thanks to this event, we can talk to each other and share stories from the Korean War and discuss how we can better perform chaplain services from now on,” said Republic of Korea Army Cpt. Shin Woo Lee.
Thirty-two chaplains (19 U.S. – 13 ROK) gathered at the War Memorial of Korea to tour the museum and learn about Korean history. Two chaplains from each service led discussions and provided presentations highlighting key milestones of chaplains serving during the Korean War.
“It’s very difficult and significant for chaplains to do duty for God, not only for the Army,” said USAG Yongsan-Casey Chaplain Lt. Col. Ronaldo Silva.
The engagement highlighted chaplains during the Korean War who devoted themselves to support Soldiers and sacrificed their lives without compensation. One story focused on Lt. Col. Russell L. Blaisdell, an Air Force Chaplain who saw thousands of orphans suffering because of the war, and he decided to save them. He secretly ordered his unit to carry the children to Jeju Island for safety. This operation was known as ‘Kiddy Car Airlift’ and he was brought up on charges for violating military rules and regulations. Blaisdell was later exonerated for his actions and in 2001, returned to Korea to meet some of the orphans he saved.
The chaplains built cultural understanding by sharing stories over lunch and later gathered at the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery in Seoul. After a lecture from foreign missionaries, a tour guide led them throughout the cemetery grounds to visit gravesites and further exchange stories about service during the Korean War.
“If any Soldiers, civilians, or local nationals have difficulties or problems, visit the chapel. We are there and we are willing to help everyone in need,” said Silva, “Call us or visit us. We are here and ready to support whatever you need.”
USAG Yongsan-Casey offers religious support services throughout Areas I and II.