Solidifying Bonds during Friendship Week in Daegu

by Shin, Hyo-ju
USAG Daegu

The 2017 KATUSA United States Soldier Friendship Week began May 16, hosted by United States Army Garrison Daegu. This three-day festival featured cultural events and various sports games. It kicked off with an opening ceremony at Camp Walker Kelly Field.

"It is a time to reflect and honor the unique relationship and place of the KATUSAs in the U.S. Army," said USAG Daegu Commander Col. Ted Stephens. "These Soldiers are the fruit borne from the blood of patriots that fought against the aggression of North Korea. Each day KATUSAs and U.S. Soldiers renew the bond that our Alliance was founded on. The Alliance was founded with the blood of our fathers and grandfathers."

There was a special guest at the opening, Mr. Yu Young-pong, who is Korean War Veteran and one of the original KATUSAs and ending with a Taekwondo Demonstration by Keimyung University Taekwondo Demonstration Team.

"Mr. Yu, Yong-pong is among the first ROK Soldiers that served in the formation of the U.S. Army," said Stephens. "Mr. Yu was conscripted into the ROK Army in Daegu at 18. After three weeks training, he was assigned as a medic in the U.S. Seventh Infantry Division and took part of Operation Chromite.

Various amazing events were held during the week. Cultural events including Samulnori (traditional Korean music), making traditional Korean Cakes, handwriting, and K-pop dancing class entertained the community. The classical music concert sponsored by Club-YP at the Camp Walker Chapel drew applause by Soldiers for the awesome performance.

KATUSAs and U.S. Soldiers also competed in Basketball, Softball, Volleyball, Soccer, and Jok-gu, a Korean style football game.

"It was fun playing softball," said Pfc. Lee, Hyun-chang, Headquarters and Headquarters Company USAG Daegu. "I really liked how we had to make a team with four U.S. Soldiers and four KATUSAs and one female Soldier. It helped us bond together, and I wish I can participate in this special event next year. Katchi Kapshida!"

One highlight of the festivities is the Talent Show. Various KATUSAs and U.S. Soldiers showed off their musical talents during the show.

During the closing ceremony, the winners of each sporting event were announced. The 6th Ordnance Battalion won the Volleyball, the 2ID Sustainment Brigade won both Softball and Basketball and 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command won both Soccer and Jok-gu.

"It was really exciting to be cooperating toward a common goal, and winning the game," said Cpl. Kang, Ho-june, HHC USAG Daegu. "Thanks to the KATUSA and U.S. Soldiers Friendship Week, it was nice that both KATUSAs and U.S. Soldiers can understand more about each other."

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