By Staff Sgt. Cody HardingApril 10, 2012
SEOUL, Republic of Korea -- April 5 was the night to shine for 80 Soldiers across the Republic of Korea. The United Service Organizations, with the help of several business partners and guests, honored these outstanding Servicemembers at the 41st Annual Six Star Salute at the Seoul Grand Hyatt.
The Six Star Salute, which began its mission of honoring outstanding Soldiers serving in South Korea in 1971, spared no expense for the night's guests and awardees. The event began with a presentation of the 80 selected Soldiers, who marched under uplifted swords before taking their seats at tables around the ballroom. The tables were reserved for business partners and dignitaries, including Gen. James Thurman, the Commander of United States Forces Korea, and the Honorable Sung Kim, United States Ambassador to South Korea, who then awarded medals to the Soldiers seated with them.
After the Soldiers were presented, Kim took to the podium to speak about the ROK-US Alliance, the Soldiers honored by the USO and the future of relations between the two countries.
"The best thing about this relationship is the unlimited potential," Kim told the audience. "If we work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. I look forward to working with everyone in this room to make sure we continue to have the best and maximize all the potential we have before us."
Tony Davis, country director for USO Korea, spoke about Dr. Oh, Chae-kyung and his contributions to the program, which he helped create back in 1971. Oh was in attendance as well, sitting at the front table with Thurman and Kim.
"His observation was that without Soldiers, there would be no generals," Davis said, explaining the name of the event. "So we take one day each year to promote a bunch of enlisted guys to the honorary rank of Six Star."
Thurman, Kim and Gen. Kwon Oh-sung, the Deputy Commanding General for Combined Forces Command, led the assembled in a toast for the Soldiers being awarded and the continued strength of the ROK-US Alliance.
Once the speeches were done, the Soldiers were treated to dinner and a show, with live music from the 2nd Infantry Division Band and a performance of "The Ballerina who loves a B-Boy." Scholarships were presented to four of the Soldiers, as well as raffle prizes donated by the various sponsors of the event.