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    Graduating Soldier’s reassignment reflects QM School’s efforts to put ‘People First'

    Graduating Soldier’s reassignment reflects QM School’s efforts to put ‘People First'

    Courtesy Photo | In this family photo, Yonghyun Kim – now a private first class and Quartermaster...... read more read more

    FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 3, 2020) -- Taking care of Soldiers goes beyond training, equipping, housing and feeding them. Looking out for their personal and family well-being is just as important.

    A recent assignment swap orchestrated by the 244th Quartermaster Battalion reflects that “whole Soldier” mentality. The organization took steps to help a graduating student get stationed closer to his mother, who he has been helping to support financially since his father passed away three years ago.

    Private 1st Class Yonghyun Kim, a native of South Korea, gave up his food truck business in New York to join the Army at age 33. His brother, a former service member, suggested it as a way to make more money and possibly get an assignment closer to his family home. Kim chose automated supply specialist as his military occupational specialty, which brought him to Fort Lee.

    Picking up the story from there is Master Sgt. Julia Etheridge, Golf Company first sergeant. The Soldier had listed South Korea as his desired duty location, she acknowledged, but the orders he received had him going to Fort Campbell, Ky., “nowhere near his now gravely ill mother” residing in Daejeon.

    “His brother told him about compassionate reassignments when he learned that Kim wasn’t going to South Korea like he had hoped to,” Etheridge said.

    Kim went to his drill sergeant to ask about applying for the Army program under which Soldiers may be considered for reassignment, deletion, deferment or permissive attachment based on dire circumstances.

    “His engaged unit leaders realized the compassionate reassignment process would take too long, and he would be shipped to Fort Campbell and have to restart the process,” elaborated Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Denis J. Fajardo. “So, they quickly asked for volunteers to trade duty assignments. The company identified another Soldier with orders to South Korea who wanted to serve at Fort Campbell. They then worked with the Soldier Support Center and the Army Human Resources Command to authorize the swap.”

    When he heard that a battle buddy needed help, fellow Golf Company Soldier Private Jason Actor didn’t hesitate to do what he could. While he has only been in the Army six months himself, he said he already “deeply feels and lives” the values of loyalty, respect and selfless service, three-of-seven traits all troops are expected to embrace.

    “My initial duty station was Camp Casey, South Korea,” Actor confirmed. “I traded my slot to South Korea with Kim and he gave me his to Fort Campbell. The decision was easy for me as he needed to take care of his mother, and it seemed like the right thing to do. It’s just how I think. I would prefer it if everyone thought about everyone else at times. I think the world would be better for it.”

    Well, Kim’s world is better for it as he expressed in an email to the Traveller, sent while preparing for the journey to Southeast Asia. “When I said I was coming to Korea, my mom cried over the phone and was incredibly happy. I know with just the joy of having me by her side, I will be able to fight my mother's depression and all her illnesses will improve.

    “I am very grateful to Lt. Col. Fajardo, 1st Sgt. Etheridge and my company commander for their lenience in considering my compassionate reassignment despite the short-notice request,” he further expressed. “I will never forget the grace of those people. With the U.S. Army’s thoughtful help and decisions, I pledge to become a more and more dedicated Soldier for this country.”

    Farjardo summarized the chain of events as walking the talk of a “People First” Army, an often-spoken phrase these days among the department’s senior leaders.

    “The chain of command’s actions postured Pfc. Kim to better support his mother, ensured the Army met its manning requirements, and most importantly demonstrated that people are our No. 1 priority,” Farjardo said. “Pfc. Kim is convinced that his leadership and Army cares about him as an individual and about his family – I believe he is now a Soldier for Life.”



    Date Taken: 12.03.2020
    Date Posted: 12.03.2020 09:45
    Story ID: 384149
    Location: KR

    Web Views: 11
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