[KS] Re:

Robert Armstrong chonan99 at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 19 10:39:39 EDT 1999

I don't know about you guys but I served and worked with KATUSAs for a 
number of years.  I also know both sides of the story having worked in both 
Signal and Military Intelligence and having spent a large amount of my time 
with KATUSAs and the ROK army.  I can remember several times being one of 
only a few Americans within a ROK army camp and I was only a lower enlisted 
soldier.  There is a lot more to this KATUSA issue and story than what was 
reported here, issues that were never addressed.

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>Friction arises over Koreans serving in U.S. Army
>                      Americans use them to finesse language, cultural 
>differences, but both nationalities
>                      express resentment
>                      By Pauline Jelinek / Associated Press
>                          SEOUL, South Korea -- The Cold War is over 
>elsewhere, but the U.S. 8th Army still stands with South
>                      Koreans at what it calls "freedom's frontier."
>                          The army is a symbol of America's decades-old 
>commitment to bolster allies against communist foes. But it's a
>                      peculiar American army -- one of every seven soldiers 
>in it is a Korean.
>                          This is the only place on Earth where foreign 
>soldiers serve in the U.S. military. The result is a U.S. force that is
>                      part American, part South Korean.
>                          "This is not a program that's going to work if 
>there's not someone running herd over it all the time," said Claude
>                      Hunter, manager of the little-known Korean 
>Augmentation to the U.S. Army program, known here as KATUSA.
>                          Korean soldiers are integrated throughout the 8th 
>Army, serving as infantrymen, finance clerks, even chaplain
>                      assistants. They provide the army with 
>Korean-speaking soldiers who can communicate better with South Korea's
>                      660,000-man army and its civilians.
>                          But multinational military operations are rarely 
>without conflicts. And the KATUSA program, started in the early
>                      days of the Korean War, has been plagued by frictions 
>throughout its history.
>                          U.S. troops quickly learn that soldiering in 
>Korea is not just about mortars and missiles. There are language and
>                      cultural problems to finesse.
>                          "If you stand back and look at it on the macro 
>level, it works," Hunter said. "If you start looking at the micro,
>                      you find a lot of pimples."
>                          The program's 4,400 KATUSAs (pronounced 
>kah-TOO-sahs) are selected, promoted, disciplined and paid by
>                      the Korean army -- at about $10 a month.
>                          Then for their two years of mandatory military 
>service, they eat, sleep, work and train with the 27,000 volunteer
>                      soldiers of the U.S. Army, wear U.S. uniforms and 
>answer to the U.S. chain of command.
>                          Officials say this saves the United States 
>between $40 million and $80 million a year.
>                          But even if the Pentagon brought all U.S. Army 
>units in Korea up to full strength with Americans, there still
>                      would be a need for Korean assistance.
>                          Some Americans think the program is intrinsically 
>dangerous -- making it appear the United States has a greater
>                      presence than it does.
>                          Some KATUSAs feel they live in a nether world -- 
>outsiders to their own army and to the foreign force they
>                      serve, sometimes at the expense of their national 
>                          And small, everyday differences eat at both 
>                          "It's the way they go dancing down the (barracks) 
>hallways and play their music loudly," Sgt. H.W. Kim, a
>                      KATUSA supply clerk in the 1st Signal Brigade, said 
>of the sometimes more boisterous Americans.
>                          It's also that Americans date Korean women, 
>criticize local customs, and arrive with little or no training in the
>                      Korean language.
>                          Americans say their average one-year tour is far 
>too short to learn a difficult language such as Korean. Some
>                      welcome KATUSA help on one hand, then on the other, 
>complain KATUSAs keep to themselves, don't mix,
>                      don't pull their weight.
>                          "Even in families, brothers fight," said Col. Lee 
>Myong-wan, a Korean liaison officer who oversees the
>                      KATUSAs.
>                          Last year, more than 100 Korean military officers 
>and Korean parents were indicted in a draft scandal that
>                      confirmed an open secret: Parents for years have been 
>bribing army placement officers to have their sons assigned
>                      to the KATUSA program or exempted from military 
>service altogether.
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