By Capt. Austin Liu, 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery, 35th ADA Brigade Public AffairsMay 25, 2011
SUWON, South Korea - Every Thursday afternoon, American Soldiers from the 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery pay a visit to the Korean National Police Agency West Suwon Station to conduct weekly English training.
Their students are all members of the local law enforcement team in the city of Suwon.
“The intent behind the KNP English program is really to reach out and build a sense of camaraderie with an outstanding group of local nationals who sacrificed so much on a daily basis to uphold justice for not only the local nationals but also all law-abiding residents of different nationalities living here on the peninsula," said Sgt. Randi Choice, one of the primary volunteer instructors from D Battery, 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion.
The Korean policemen stood in front of the classroom discussing in English their favorite pastimes and TV dramas with the help of the U.S. Soldiers.
This will not be the first time that Choice had to work with a host nation’s police agency. When she was deployed to Iraq in 2006, Choice, a Pennsylvania native, was attached to an Iraqi police unit for more than 15 months.
“I think my experience [working in an Iraqi police unit] really inspired me to volunteer for this class in Korea,” said Choice. “It keeps my mind open to different cultures.”
The English class is focused on enhancing the student’s basic English conversation skill which the policemen found very useful when interacting with foreign residents within their jurisdiction. For this reason, the class is usually filled with police officers and detectives of various seniority and ranks.
“We divide the students into small groups and just have friendly conversations about our jobs, families and everything else we like or dislike,” said Pfc. Diante Pullum, a communication specialist assigned to Headquarters Battery, 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion.
In Pullum’s group, there were two junior combat police officers who are serving out their mandatory conscription and a seasoned detective who had over 15 years of service on the force.
Judging from the shared laughter and enthusiastic atmosphere, the class is not only educational but also entertaining for both the students and teachers.
“We really appreciate the U.S. Soldiers for coming down here to teach English to the KNP,” said Charlie Yoon, a KNP student in the class and the primary coordinator for the program.
The Suwon Seobu KNP station has a permanent relationship with the 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion.
“We [KNP] actually have a lot in common with the U.S. Soldiers,” said Yoon. “In fact, KNP agency deployed a number of police officers to Afghanistan, including a few from Suwon district, as part of the coalition efforts to rebuild the civil infrastructure of the worn-torn nation.”