By Capt. Austin Liu, 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery, 35th ADA Brigade Public AffairsJune 1, 2011
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea - Soldiers and families from the 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery spent an unforgettable Memorial Day visiting the ROK Navy Ship Cheonan wreckage at the Republic of Korea Navy 2nd Fleet Base and honored the 46 ROK Navy sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice more than a year ago.
More than 65 Soldiers and their families had the rare opportunity to examine up close and personal the ship and the damages it suffered as a result of a North Korean torpedo attack that took place March 26, 2010.
A few West Point Cadets attached to the battalion as part of the summer Cadet Troop Leadership Training participated in the tour.
The U.S. personnel received an in-depth briefing from ROK Navy officials on the evidence gathered as a result of the multi-national investigation of the sinking and even got the chance to look at the “smoking gun,” the replicated remains of the North Korean torpedo with Hangul markings that allegedly sank the ship.
“I am very grateful to the ROK Navy for allowing us to visit the memorial and partake in the tribute to the lives so tragically lost,” said 2nd Lt. Douglas Brown of HHB, 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion, who participated in the tour.
The sinking of the Cheonan was one of the most significant events in recent North and South Korea relations and marked one of the lowest points between the two nations since the end of Korean War. The U.S. personnel also visited the local Yongpyeong Island Skirmishes Memorial Park as part of the tour.
“Looking at the Cheonan wreckage and the damage it sustained in person really brought things into perspective for everyone this morning,” said Lt. Col. William E. Darne, commander of 6-52nd Air Defense Artillery Battalion.