War Museum offers unique look into ROK-US Partnership
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Soldiers, civilians and family members looking to learn more about the ROK-U.S. Alliance don't have to go very far. Located just a few hundred yards from the Dragon Hill gate at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul is one of the best places in the world to help them understand the enduring partnership between the United States and South Korea; the War Memorial of Korea.
Visitors to the memorial are treated with an interactive experience that takes them back to the Korean War including a 4-D virtual simulation of the Inchon Landing and a realistic depiction of the evacuation from Heungnam called 'The Other War' 4-D Visual Experience.
In addition to the virtual theaters and smartphone accessible displays that litter the museum, patrons are able to explore seven indoor exhibits and an outdoor exhibition that features military equipment too large to house inside.
A trip the memorial is especially important for personnel stationed on the peninsula for the first time. With most attention in American media focused on the Vietnam War and World War II, the Korean War often takes a back seat, so many people arrive here without a full appreciation for the events that took place.
By touring the museum and learning more about the history of the Korean War, it helps U.S. Army personnel better understand the true depth of the partnership between the U.S. and South Korea.
"You would be surprised how many people really aren't aware of what took place during the Korean War," said Joe Sellen, Eighth Army community relations. "I highly recommend visiting the museum for anyone who is going to serve here."
"The museum is also a good display for the ROK-U.S. Alliance and helps Soldiers understand why we are here," he continued. "Americans and Koreans have fought alongside each other during (both) the Korean and Vietnam Wars…and continue to do so over in Iraq and Afghanistan. The museum is a really good way for Soldiers to learn more about the relationship between our two nations and gain a true appreciation for how deep our partnership runs."
Official tour guide at the museum retired South Korean Army Lt. Col. Sam Kim agrees with Sellen and offered some background on the relationships between the two longstanding allies.
"Soldiers need to understand the country where they are stationed," Kim said. "The relationship between the U.S. and (South) Korea actually began in 1945. Five years later when the Korean War broke out the U.S. fought alongside Korea, and Korea repaid the favor when we sent troops to Vietnam. So you can say the partnership between our two countries is really strong."
"When (many) Soldiers come to serve here in Korea they don't really know about the history, but once they visit (the War Memorial) they understand how our relationship began. It is also a good place for Soldiers who have been here before who want to enlighten their understanding and learn more about Korean history."
In addition to providing history on the Korean War, the museum also tells the captivating story of Korea's military might over the past 2,000 years. Throughout that time, much larger nations have routinely invaded the peninsula only for Korea to eventually fend them off. The resiliency of Korea throughout its history is absolutely amazing and well worth spending an afternoon to learn more about.
Since the establishment of the ROK-U.S. Alliance, Korea has only grown stronger. By visiting the museum, Army personnel stationed in Korea discover the fascinating history of our enduring partnership and better understand why we are still here defending liberty on Freedom' Frontier today.
To learn more about Korea and why Eighth Army is the best duty station in the Army visit the "Choose Korea" page on the Eighth Army website at http://8tharmy.korea.army.mil/choosekorea.