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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>Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 11:55:22 -0700
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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
> 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
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