News: Koreans thank CJTF-82 Soldier for repatriation service
Story by Sgt. Timothy Dinneen
By Army Sgt. Timothy Dinneen
Combined Joint Task Force-82 Public Affairs
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – The Republic of Korea Army celebrated Memorial Day here June 6 by recognizing a Combined Joint Task Force-82 Soldier who repatriated the first ROKA Soldier killed in combat since the Korean War.
Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Slankard, the Mortuary Affairs non-commissioned officer in charge of CJTF-82, received an award of appreciation for the timeliness, honor and dignity he gave to ROKA Staff Sgt. Yoon, Jang Ho to prepare him for his final journey home.
"There is no greater honor and humility experiencing the return of a fallen comrade to their family," said Slankard, a Flint, Mich. native.
The Korean engineers filled the Camp Yoon parade field to honor the death of Yoon along with other Korean veterans killed defending their homeland as well as show appreciation for the efforts Slankard gave in getting their fallen comrade home.
Yoon was killed by a suicide bomber at Entry Control Point One here in February, marking the first ROKA casualty in combat since the Korean War. Slankard had the duty to recover his remains at the site.
"The site was horrific, something burned into memory for life," Slankard said. "I just focused on the aspect of ensuring I get these folks home to their families. I separate myself from the environment and focus on the job."
Slankard said he was glad he could help because friends help each other in times of crisis.