Nakdong River Battle Victory Ceremony: A Unique Experience for US Soldiers

by Cpl. Sung Guk Byun
U.S. Army

DAEGU, SOUTH KOREA -- The Republic of Korea Ministry of National defense hosted the Victory Ceremony of Nakdong River Battle in commemoration of the 66th anniversary of the Korean War along the Nakdong riverside in Chilgok-gun from September 22 to 23.

Republic of Korea's 2nd Operational Command organized the two-day event as a great way to honor military veterans and inspire patriotism. The reenactment also provided a unique platform for ROK and US Soldiers to form new relationships, especially on a personal level.

On the 22nd, the victory ceremony kicked off with a parade through the streets of Waegwan featuring the military band, honor guard, Korean War veterans, ROK Army Soldiers, US Army Soldiers, reserve forces, and military vehicles like High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) and tanks.

One of the participants of the parade, Staff Sgt. Marc D. Hunter, 84th Ordnance Company senior ammunitions inspector, said, "The parade was a good event for the camaraderie between the US and ROK Soldiers. Spectators were able to see equipment from both sides and we received warm cheers from everyone. It was a great feeling."

In the afternoon on both days, the event centered along the Nakdong riverside in Chilgok-gun. The event continued with a variety of exciting performances from the ranger martial arts, the joint honor guard, and an assorted drum performance before the main event.

The main ceremony included a merit medal award ceremony and the reenactment of the Nakdong River battle. The realistic reenactment scene included Soldiers from the 201st Special Forces Brigade under the 2nd Operational Command, US Soldiers, and a variety of military equipment including tanks and fighter planes in addition to controlled explosions.

Pfc. Dakota Rushing, 498th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion cargo specialist, was one of the Soldiers who participated as a reenactor for the main battle scene.

"It was awesome being able to work with ROK Soldiers. It was my first time to working with ROK Soldiers but we all just bonded together. I got to sit down and just talk about everything with them while preparing for the event," said Rushing.

After the ceremony, spectators were treated to a high altitude-low opening military parachute performance and an airshow that showcased different military aircraft.

The event also provided various exhibitions and opportunities for the community to experience. Some of these exhibitions included a Korean War picture exhibition, a ROK-US combat equipment exhibition, and others. Also, visitors had the opportunity to create their own identification tags, board military vehicles and equipment, and more.

Coordinating such a massive event is no easy task. Capt. Veronica Neeley, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command G3 Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear, and Explosives Officer in Charge, played a major role on the US Army side in coordinating with 2OC for the event.

"It was a good experience for everybody because the ROK and US Soldiers get to work with one another especially the reenactors. They are working together to create this reenactment of an actual event that happened. So, there's lots of camaraderie that goes on and they share MREs and everything and get to know each other," said Neeley.

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