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    KATUSA memorial ceremony honors the fallen during Korea War

    KATUSA Memorial Ceremony

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Terysa King | Soldiers of Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade,...... read more read more

    BUSAN, Republic of Korea – When North Korean forces invaded the South in 1950, one of the most powerful alliances was formed, severely testing the will and determination of 56,000 Republic of Korea forces fighting alongside U.S. soldiers.

    Every year on June 6, the ROK and U.S. Soldiers who died during the Korean War are remembered during the Korean Augmentees to the United States Army (KATUSA) Memorial Ceremony at the United Nations Cemetery in Busan, South Korea.

    Since July 1950, more than 470,000 KATUSAs served in 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-US Combined Division units in a variety of military occupational specialties ranging from squad to division level.

    Baek, Seung Young, 68, was one of the KATUSA veterans seen taking pictures during the ceremony. Baek served with the 2ID/RUCD in the 2nd Engineer Battalion until his release from active duty in May 1974.

    Currently, Baek works for a local newspaper company. Despite his limited English, Baek’s body language exuded pride in serving his country.

    “The Korean War was very important. Every year on June 6, I am here,” Baek said.

    Pfc. Cho, Young Jun, a KATUSA currently working in the S3 plans and operations section with the Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, was humbled by what he saw as wreathes and flowers were laid on gravesites.

    “Serving as a KATUSA is honor to me. As a Korean, it’s an honor to be part of a historical program, which represents the bond between two nations. We strive to walk and talk with U.S. Soldiers and be the bridge to reduce the cultural difference. I'm feeling proud of being a KATUSA,” Cho said.

    The ceremony, which was hosted by the KATUSA Veterans Association, brought in distinguished guests from the local community, as well as Brig. Gen. Johnnie Johnson, 2ID/RUCD deputy commanding general-maneuver. During his speech, Johnson said he is honored by the proud and dedicated legacy of the KATUSAs and eternally grateful for the sacrifices of fallen comrades.

    “Every one of these warriors here placed the hopes and dreams of their countrymen ahead of their own, and all of them knew that the next minute, hour or day might be their last. They fought bravely against overwhelming odds against a determined enemy, given a last full measure to ensure generations that followed might live freely and peacefully,” Johnson said.

    As the ceremony rendered honors to the fallen in their final resting place, those in attendance took the time to reflect on the price of freedom paid by their successors.

    “Most people who are living under peaceful conditions don't understand about the seriousness of war. Seeing the graves of warriors who fought taught me peace is not a free gift. Seeing the warriors who participated in the Korean War was enough to realize the importance of maintaining peace,” Cho said.

    Since the signing of the armistice that ended the hostilities, peace does exist, but ROK and U.S. Soldiers continue to train side by side to this day to maintain the fight tonight mantra.

    “I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to the KATUSA Veterans Association for hosting this annual remembrance and for reminding us that on this day freedom isn’t free. Our mission today remains unchanged: to deter North Korean aggression, and if our deterrence fails, fight tonight in defense of our alliance.” Johnson said.



    Date Taken: 01.03.2018
    Date Posted: 01.04.2018 02:46
    Story ID: 261296
    Location: BUSAN, KR 

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