News: KATUSA says farewell
Story by Pfc. Gun Woo Song
UIJEONGBU, South Korea – Korean Augmentation to the United States Army soldiers have been a vital asset for the Alliance between the Republic of Korea and United States Army since the program’s establishment during the Korean War in 1950. They work side by side with U.S. soldiers in defending the Korean Peninsula.
They serve at least 21 months in the military before they finish their service.
The Expiration of Term of Service Ceremony for KATUSAs took place at Camp Red Cloud, South Korea late February. Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Brinton, the senior enlisted adviser of 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division attended the ceremony as a guest speaker. More than 50 KATUSAs in the 2nd Inf. Div. finished their service in the military and 13 of those soldiers were from the 210th FA Bde.
Brinton pointed out how the KATUSAs are a great asset to the U.S. Army and the brigade.
“Part of it is helping us interact with our Koreans counterparts, but regardless of their military occupational specialty they contribute greatly to the brigade,” he said.
Sgt. Kim Han-byeol, from Seoul, South Korea, formerly a public affairs specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 210th FA Bde., was one of the Soldiers who successfully completed his service. He recalls his time as very meaningful.
“It was very special for me to serve as a KATUSA,” he said. “I was able to experience the American lifestyle, by interacting with my American counterparts without having to leave Korea.”
As one of the members of the 210th FA Bde., Public Affairs Office, Kim captured the lives of the brigade’s soldiers in pictures and stories so their family members and friends can see their loved ones bravely serving their nation.
According to Brinton, Kim was a great soldier to have in the brigade.
“He has helped tell our story, the story of the brigade and the soldiers,” Brinton said. “From what I have observed, he was a very good KATUSA. I appreciate his service to his country and to the Thunder Brigade.”
During Kim’s time of service, he produced numerous stories for the Indianhead, the 2nd Inf. Div., newspaper, the Morning Calm and the United States Forces Korea newspaper. He also published more than 1,500 photos.
As a KATUSA, now leaving the military, he advises new KATUSAs who are joining the team to interact more with the U.S. Soldiers.
“I think the precious thing that KATUSAs can do is to be an ambassador to the U.S. soldiers,” said Kim. “I recommend that KATUSAs should take the U.S. soldiers to Seoul or other places in the country and show them around. Teach them about the Korean culture and the food. Maintain the strong bond and the Alliance. Most of all make sure their experience is memorable.”
The Alliance between both Armies continues to grow as they continue to work side-by-side.