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    USARAK Soldier among stars as ASYMCA of AK Salutes Military

    ASYMCA of Alaska Salute to the Military

    Photo By Derrick Crawford | U.S. Army Sgt. Jun Mo Jeon, with U.S. Army Alaska, holds a golden pan awarded by the...... read more read more



    Story by Derrick Crawford 

    United States Army Alaska

    Unbeknownst to Sgt. Jun Mo Jeon, he is standing a handshake away from the governor of Alaska in a tuxedo-and-sequined-packed room where Jeon is literally rubbing chevrons with the state’s leading civic and business leaders. Jeon nearly jumps in disbelief after learning the identity of the casually dressed Gov. Mike Dunleavy and becomes floored when the governor then agrees to take a photo with him.
    Noticeably, Jeon, 28, representing U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK), was a star among the stars on this night, and they all came out to show their appreciation for military members like him.
    The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) of Alaska recognized Jeon and 11 other junior enlisted service members as Service Persons of the Year during its 45th Annual Salute to the Military Banquet, Feb. 19, at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. Additionally, the ASYMCA named a Military Spouse of the Year and Bobby Alexander Civic Leader of the Year.
    According to ASYMCA of Alaska Events Director, Brina Lynch, the banquet and other surrounding events connect the state’s military and civilian communities, allowing “dignitaries and community leaders to honor our Alaska Military.”
    The banquet is one of the largest military appreciation events held in the state, attended by more than 500 people, including U.S. Rep. Don Young, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (via livestream this year) and other notable state elected officials, business and military leaders and non-profit organizations. U.S. Forces Commanding General, Michael X. Garrett, also a former USARAK commander, delivered a live-streamed keynote speech from his home in the Lower 48. This year’s event marked the first in the past two years to return in full during COVID-19.
    “All that the ASYMCA is able to do for our military families is credited to our numerous community partners,” added ASYMCA Executive Director, Sarah Riffer. “Salute to the Military is only one opportunity for us to allow those partners to meet and experience, first hand, the impact that their generosity has created for our military members and families.”
    As he soaked up all of the attention, Jeon could not help but reflect on where his professional and personal journey has led after he and his family emigrated from Seoul, South Korea to the United States in 2001, settling in Rancho Palos Verdes, Ca.
    “(Being selected as a Service Person of the Year) is a tremendous opportunity and recognition,” said Jeon, who was also recently selected as the USARAK Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter. “At first, I couldn’t even believe it…I’m super grateful, and I’m super happy that it was me.”
    After completing a Bachelor’s of Sciences in Biology at the University of California, Riverside, he subsequently enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 2018 through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program and became a U.S. citizen. Jeon is a combat medic assigned to Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
    Although he has experienced a string of success in his burgeoning military career, Jeon seemed genuinely, somewhat taken aback by the opportunities that have opened up to him.
    “Definitely I knew that as a 68 Whiskey (combat medic) I would have a lot of opportunity, but not opportunities like this, which is a whole other level,” said Jeon, whose duties include maintaining medical readiness of unit personnel, training other Soldiers to provide medical care and, if needed, administering emergency medical treatment on the battlefield. He earned qualifications to provide advanced cardiac and pediatric life support and is set to attend the prestigious Army Special Operations Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection Course at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School on Fort Bragg, N.C.
    That his parents, Hyung Choon Jeon and In Sook Kang, travelled so far from their home in Duluth, Ga., to attend the event made it even more special, explained Jeon, who said it had been several years since he last visited them.
    “They’re both immigrants that came from Korea and worked hard to make a living in the United States,” he said. “I’m just happy that they’re super proud that I was able to get to where I am through the military. I’m just happy I can share this with them today.”



    Date Taken: 02.19.2022
    Date Posted: 03.01.2022 20:38
    Story ID: 415361
    Location: ANCHORAGE, AK, US 
    Hometown: SEOUL, 11, KR
    Hometown: DULUTH, GA, US

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    Downloads: 1