News: My Korea, my life
Story by Cpl. Han-byeol Kim
CAMP CASEY, South Korea - Many U.S. soldiers are being deployed abroad. Some soldiers might be sad to be far away from their hometown, but living in Korea can be more enjoyable than they think.
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Carle, from Tecate, Calif., the 210th Fires Brigade sexual assault response coordinator, is a soldier who has been deployed to Korea for a long time.
In the beginning of his career, he didn’t expect to come to Korea. However, since joining the Army, Carle has been deployed to Korea twice for a total of 10 years.
“I originally joined the Army as a high school student in the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. The reason was simply to have a summer job,” said Carle. “I guess I didn’t realize at the moment that the summer job was going to be Army boot camp.”
After adjusting to the culture of the Army, Carle had a challenge to learn a new culture all together.
“When I came to Korea for the first time, my main difficulties were related to communication,” he said.
So, Carle worked hard to learn more about Korea and Korean culture. He was never afraid to make Korea more of a home to him than just an assignment.
“One of my first college classes during my first deployment to Korea was Hangul and I took three more classes after that,” he said. “I started attending a Korean church and made many friends that really enjoyed sharing with me about the Korean culture.”
He has grown to like Korea particularly because of three things: food, people and mountains.
“You can always count on someone helping you find your way, even when there may be a language barrier. People are kind and generally respectful,” he said. “There is always a mountain to climb here in Korea and paired with that, you will always find a nice stream of water to relax and enjoy a nice cold cup of Makgeolli.”
Carle enjoys traveling and seeing new places in Korea. Even though he has been in Korea for years, he thinks there is so much more to discover.
Another thing that only soldiers in Korea can experience is working with Korean Augmentation to the United States Army soldiers. These are Korean soldiers who work alongside American soldiers.
Carle says he is lucky to have that chance.
“I have always enjoyed working with KATUSAs,” he said. “I actually still keep in touch with many KATUSAs that have come and gone who are now productive members of Korean society.”
Carle says having his wife here helped him a lot with living and broadening his experience in Korea.
“My wife introduced me to more friends and a deeper understanding of Korean family style,” he said. “I learned a deeper meaning of national holidays. I was able to take part in those, and know traditions.”
He has some advice for soldiers who are new to the country, too. He wants soldiers not to be afraid to learn something new and enjoy their time.
“Gather up some buddies, including KATUSAs, and head out to explore Korea,” he said. “You will not regret it. Instead, you will build everlasting memories that will have true meaning.”
Carle considers Korea a memorable and enjoyable place where he has learned so much about himself through experiencing the Korean culture.