ROK-US Army bond at Memorial Park
DAEGU, South Korea - Soldiers from the United States Army's 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and Republic of Korea Army's 5th Logistics Support Command cleaned up the Apsan memorial park in recognition of ROK remembrance month, June 18.
The two commands have been cleaning the memorial together every June for the past five years. The month of June is a designated memorial period for all Koreans as well as the anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. This year, a total of 64 Soldiers from the two commands participated.
"Commemorating the month of remembrance, the 5th LSC has been partnering with the 19th ESC since 2008," said Master Sgt. Jung Goang-ho, 5th LSC G4 logistic support controller. "I hope Soldiers from the two countries understand each other's culture and establish a better sense of our history."
After a morning formation, Soldiers and Korean Augmentation to the United States Army, or KATUSAs, marched to the Apsan memorial park with their cleaning equipment. Soon after, Soldiers from the 5th LSC arrived to the park wearing their green ROKA uniform.
Before the cleanup, Sgt. Maj. Prentiss E. Hall, 19th ESC G-3 sergeant major, and the 5th LSC's command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Sin Young-jik, honored the war dead with a ceremonial offering. Soldiers in the formation rendered their salutes in respect to heroes who have perished to defend our nation.
Awkward at first, Soldiers from the two countries divided into their respective groups. As the day progressed, however, the teams began integrating with one another, ultimately working together as a single unit. KATUSAs served as translators and soon both sides were interacting with their counterparts and learning about each country's military courtesies.
"It was my first time seeing a U.S. Army Soldier and a very new experience to work with them," said Pfc. Lee Sung-min, 32nd Supply Battalion, 5th LSC petroleum specialist. "If I have the chance, I would like to engage in a combined exercise with the U.S. Army."
For the second time during his military service, Sgt. Son Hong-keun, 19th ESC G-6 Information Technology specialist, took part in this cleanup. Last year he was only a private but this time, as a responsible noncommissioned officer and a senior among fellow KATUSAs, Son stressed the meaning underlying the remembrance month.
"Compared to when I was a private last year, I have learned better to appreciate the war fighters who have protected our country. It is an honor to clean up the memorial park and respect their selfless service," Son said.
Although Soldiers learn to work together during formal training exercises, events such as this allow an opportunity for them to bond while paying their sincere respect to the warriors that have gone before them. It is this shared commitment that enables the two countries to work side-by-side and be prepared to "Go Together" when the time comes.