Eighth Army honors Japanese student volunteer soldiers
INCHEON, South Korea -- Members of the Ministry of Korea Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs and the Japan Veteran's Association commemorated the 65th anniversary of their participation in the Korean War during a Sept. 24 memorial ceremony at Su-bong Park, Incheon.
About 100 people gathered at the Korean Japanese Student Veterans' Memorial for a ceremony attended by distinguished guests including Park, Suk-Joon, Korean Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs and Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General, Maj. Gen. David W. Puster.
The event included an awards ceremony and speeches honoring the Korean-Japanese student veterans for their patriotism and sacrifice.
"We're here to pay special tribute to the brave student-Soldiers who, 65 years ago, volunteered to defend freedom on the Korean peninsula," Puster said during his remarks to the crowd of service members, veterans and family members.
At the outbreak of Korean War, Puster said, 641 Koreans studying in Japan volunteered to join the U.S. Army and receive basic military training at Eighth Army Replacement Depot, Camp Drake, Japan.
They were then dispatched to fight against North Korean forces. They were the first Korean citizens from overseas to join the war and the first Korean augmentation troops to the US Army Soldiers to serve with Eighth Army, said Puster.
"It is fitting that we remember these brave men today," Puster said. "When war broke out in June 1950 they did what they did not have to do, and what others chose not to do. These men remained faithful to their nation and voluntarily returned to Korea to fight against the North Korean invaders."