WAEGWAN, Republic of Korea -- Each year, a multiday festival along the banks of the Nakdong River serves to commemorate the important battles waged there during the Korean War in 1950.
The Nakdong River battles marked a major turning point in the war, leading to further UN victories and restoring control of Korea.
Held from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, this year’s Nakdong River World Peace and Culture Festival is significant in that it marks the 10th anniversary of the peaceful celebration and 70 years since the armistice was signed, effectively bringing the fighting of the Korean War to an end.
“For 70 years, the U.S. Army has been a significant member of this effective partnership and major elements of the Army Medical Logistics Command contribute to that partnership,” said Lt. Col. Mark Sander, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Korea.
USAMMC-K, a direct reporting unit to Army Medical Logistics Command, provides direct sustainment support for all medical supply requirements and optical fabrication to the joint force in Korea. It also supports medical maintenance and strategic readiness of critical medical capabilities and resources in coordination with fellow AMLC direct reporting unit, the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency.
On the second day of the street festival, held in the city of Waegwan, Chilgok County Governor Kim Jae-wook was joined by a cadre of city and county officials to open the event with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
Sander and other leaders from USAMMC-K were among the U.S. military contingent from nearby Camp Carroll to attend as honorary officials for the event.
“This coordination to participate in such a great international event would not be possible without the teamwork between the U.S. and Korean employees of Army Medical Logistics Command, both USAMMC-K and USAMMA,” Sander said.
USAMMC-K Deputy Commander Maj. Myong “Mike” Pak described the atmosphere as “vibrant, bustling with people,” including U.S. and Republic of Korea military members joining with top officials from Chilgok.
“The festival boasted an extensive variety of food stands, providing the opportunity to indulge in delicious local Korean delicacies, numerous vendors presenting their products and exciting performances by renowned Korean celebrities,” Pak said. “However, the most noteworthy aspect of the festival was the touching tribute to the Korean War veterans, a gesture that reminds us of their heroic contributions.”
Sander recognized No, Chae-il, a member of USAMMA’s management staff at the Army Prepositioned Stocks site in Korea, known as APS-4, as an “essential link” to the coordinators of the celebration. He also provided interpreter support to ensure communication throughout the event.
“I think all of us working together and wanting to participate actively in a goodwill event like this exemplifies the deeply personal connection we have not only with respect to the mission, but in the culture and common values our people share,” Sander said.