[KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question

KimcheeGI kimcheegi at gmail.com
Sun Apr 15 12:26:47 EDT 2012

George, Don, Kevin and Brian:

Let's also take a look at what the US Army says about the matter of
"Mercenary Payments" and economic benefits (From Chapter 4 of Allied
Participation in
Lieutenant General Stanley Robert Larsen and Brigadier General James
Lawton Collins, Jr. 1985):

> On 23 June 1965 Defense Minister Kim again met with Commander in Chief,
> United Nations Command, this time in the tatter's capacity as Commander, US
> Forces, Korea, to discuss the problems connected with the deployment of the
> Korean division to Vietnam. Before concrete plans could be drawn up,
> however, the Korean Army needed to obtain the approval of the National
> Assembly. Although approval was not necessarily automatic, the minister
> expected early approval and tentatively established the date of deployment
> as either late July or early August 1965.
> The minister desired US agreement to and support of the following items
> before submitting the deployment proposal to the National Assembly:
> 1. Maintenance of current US and Korean force ceilings in Korea.
> 2. Equipment of the three combat-ready reserve divisions to 100 percent of
> the table of equipment allowance and the seventeen regular divisions,
> including the Marine division, with major items affecting firepower,
> maneuver, and signal capabilities to avoid weakening the Korean defense
> posture.
> [124]
> 3. Maintenance of the same level of Military Assistance Program funding
> for Korea as before the deployment of the division.
> 4. Early confirmation of mission, bivouac area, command channels, and
> logistical support for Korean combat units destined for service in Vietnam.
> 5. Establishment of a small planning group to determine the organization
> of the Korean division.
> 6. Provision of signal equipment for a direct and exclusive communication
> net between Korea and Korean forces headquarters in Vietnam.
> 7. Provision of transportation for the movement of the Korean division and
> for subsequent requirements such as rotation and replacement of personnel
> and supplies.
> 8. Provision of financial support to Korean units and individuals in
> Vietnam, including combat duty pay at the same rate as paid to US
> personnel, gratuities and compensations for line-of-duty deaths or
> disability, and salaries of Vietnamese indigenous personnel hired by Korean
> units.
> 9. Provision of four C-123 aircraft for medical evacuation and liaison
> between Korea and Vietnam.
> 10. Provision of a field broadcasting installation to enable the Korean
> division to conduct anti-Communist broadcasts, psychological warfare, and
> jamming operations and to provide Korean home news, war news, and
> entertainment programs.
>  Some years later, in January 1971, General Dwight E. Beach, who had
> succeeded General Howze as Commander in Chief, United Nations Command, on 1
> July 1965, commented on the list.
>> The initial Korean bill (wish-list) was fantastic. Basically, the ROK
>> wanted their troops to receive the same pay as the Americans, all new US
>> equipment for deploying troops and modernization of the entire ROK Army,
>> Navy and Air Force. I told them with the Ambassador's concurrence that
>> their bill was completely unreasonable and there was no chance whatever of
>> the US agreeing to it. The final compromise included a very substantial
>> increase in pay for the troops deployed, as much good equipment as we could
>> then furnish and a US commitment that no US troops would be withdrawn from
>> Korea without prior consultation with the ROK. The latter, to the Koreans,
>> meant that no US troops would be withdrawn without ROK approval. Obviously,
>> the latter was not the case as is now evident with the withdrawal of the
>> 7th US Division from Korea.
> The US Department of State and Department of Defense ultimately resolved
> the matter of the Korean requirements.

So as Don mentioned, a form of Overseas Pay was given, but nowhere near
what the Korean Government requested or what is whispered in conspiracy
theories and in Internet chat rooms as a secret fund:

> The request for financial support to Korean units and individuals in
> Vietnam met with disapproval. The US commander in Korea did not favor
> combat duty pay--especially at the same rate paid to US troops-but was in
> agreement with the payment of an overseas allowance. If the United States
> had to pay death benefits or make disability payments, the rates should be
> those presently established under Korean law on a one-time basis only. The
> United States would not pay directly for the employment of Vietnamese
> nationals by Korean forces but was in favor of including such expenses in
> the agreements between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Vietnam.
> Since the request for four C-123 aircraft appeared to overlap a previous
> transportation request, the commander felt that the United States should
> provide only scheduled flights to Korea or reserve spaces on other US
> scheduled flights for Korean use.

And for the total cost savings to the Korean Government we can go on:

> The United States agreed to suspend the Military Assistance Program
> transfer project for as long as the Korean government maintained
> substantial forces in Vietnam. The United States also agreed to offshore
> procurement from Korea for transfer items such as petroleum, oil,
> lubricants, and construction materials listed in the fiscal year 1966
> Military Assistance Program. Subsequently, and during the period of the
> transfer program, the United States would determine offshore procurement
> from Korea on the basis of individual items and under normal offshore
> procurement procedures.
> These concessions to the Korean government were made, however, with the
> understanding that the *budgetary savings accruing to Korea from the
> actions taken would contribute to a substantial military and civil service
> pay-raise for Koreans*. Actually, the Korean government would not incur
> any additional costs in deploying the division to Vietnam but would secure
> a number of economic benefits. On the other hand, the cost to the United
> States for Koreans already in Vietnam approximated $2,000,000 annually, and
> first year costs for the operation of the Korean division in Vietnam were
> estimated at $43,000,000.

Also if you can't get to Korea but you can read Korean a good place to
start is http://www.vietvet.co.kr/ The Vietnam War and Korea Website.
There are many Korean first hand narratives and some are also in English if
you follow the links.  But as Don mentioned, the Vietnam War Vets from
Korea are a proud bunch, so ask accordingly.

Good luck and best wishes in your research endeavors.

the KimcheeGI

On Sun, Apr 15, 2012 at 11:15 PM, Katsiaficas, George <katsiaficasg at wit.edu>
> The larger context has bearing on your question. The government of South
Korea received tremendous economic benefits from the Vietnam War. Park
Chung-hee's grandiose scheme to build heavy industry required enormous
amounts of money, but he had only limited domestic sources. As much as he
squeezed workers and devalued the currency to stimulate exports, he still
needed farmore capital. Between 1953 and 1962, US aid funded 70% of Korea’s
imports and 80% of its fixed capital investments—about 8% of its GNP.Once
the US needed its monies to fight the war in Vietnam, however, it began to
cut back. In order to find new international sources of money, Park
endorsed a key US proposal: closer ROK ties with Japan. Staunch domestic
opposition to normalization prevented a treaty from simply being finalized.
On June 3, 1964, Park declared martial law in Seoul and dismissed dozens of
professors and students. The US Combined Forces Commander approved the
release of two combat divisions to suppress the protests. Despite thousands
of students threatening to storm the Blue House (the
presidentialresidence), Park rammed the treaty through the rubber stamp
legislature of the Third Republic. When the opposition went on a hunger
strike to protest the treaty, the ruling party took one minute to ratify
it, and at the same time, it also approved sending 20,000 troops to Vietnam
to fight on the side of the US. In exchange for normalization of relations,
Japan paid $300 million in grants (for which Park indemnified Japan for all
its previous actions) and made available another half-a-billion dollars in
> Sensing an opportunity to channel public sentiment against the communist
enemy as well as a second avenue to raise capital, Park immediately offered
thousands more troops for deployment to Vietnam. Despite scattered student
protests, war with Vietnam proved less controversial than his settling of
accounts with Japan. Park’s movement of troops was so fast, that according
to figures released by the US State Department, there were more South
Korean soldiers fighting in southern Vietnam in 1965 than North
Vietnamese.[1] South Koreans soldiers were widely reported to be even more
brutal than their US counterparts. At the end of 1969, some 48,000 ROK
military personnel were stationed in Vietnam, and by the time they
completed their withdrawal in 1973, some 300,000 veterans had fought there.
ROK casualties included 4,960 dead and 10,962 wounded. Wars provide
experiences for military officers who go on to inflict future casualties.
Lieutenant No Ri-Bang served in Jeju in 1948 and went to Vietnam. Future
dictators Chun Doo Hwan and Roh Tae-woo served together in Vietnam, before
brutally ruling South Korea after Park’s assassination in 1979.
> The economic benefits of military intervention in Vietnam were
extraordinary. From 1965-1970, the South Korean government received $1.1
billion in payments—about 7% of GDP and 19% of foreign earnings.[3] More
than 80 Korean companies did lucrative business in Vietnam—from
transportation to supply, construction to entertainment—from which the
country accrued another $1 billion for exports to and services in Vietnam.
Secret US bonuses paid to Park’s government for Korean soldiers who fought
in Vietnam totaled $185 million from 1965-1973. When we add all these funds
to the $1.1 billion in direct payments, the total US allocations to Park’s
regime amounted to about 30% of the ROK’s foreign exchange earnings from
1966-1969.[4] Altogether US aid to South Korea totaled $11 billion by
1973—more than to any other country except South Vietnam—some 8% of
worldwide US military and foreign monies.[5] Regimes friendly to the US in
Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Thailand also benefited greatly from
the tidal wave of dollars that flooded the region during the Vietnam War.
> Excerpted from my book, Asia's Unknown Uprisings: Vol. 1 South Korean
Social Movements in the 20th Century
> George Katsiaficas
> ________________________________
> [1] See the discussion in the volume I edited, Vietnam Documents:
American and Vietnamese Views of the War (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1992) p.
> [2] Chae-Jin Lee, pp. 55, 70.
> [3] Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun, p. 321.
> [4] Martin Hart-Landsberg 1993, 147-8.
> [5] Han Sung-joo, “Korean Politics in an International Context,” in
Korean National Commission for UNESCO (editor) Korean Politics: Striving
for Democracy and Unification (Elizabeth, NJ: Hollym, 2002) p. 620.
> From: don kirk <kirkdon at yahoo.com>
> Reply-To: Korean Studies Discussion List <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2012 15:04:41 -0700
> To: Kevin Shepard <kevin_shepard at yahoo.com>, Korean Studies Discussion
List <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> Subject: Re: [KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question
> The question is whether or not they got bonuses in order to "volunteer"
for Vietnam. If they got no bonuses, then obviously they wouldn't be
"mercenaries." Even if they got bonuses, it would be difficult to pin the
mercenary label since soldiers in any army generally get combat pay when
fighting overseas. Also, I'm not sure ordinary draftees had any say in
where they were sent.
>  All told, 300,000 Koreans served in Vietnam over nearly a ten-year
period. Five thousand of them were KIA, many more WIA. The White Horse and
Tiger divisions were the principal units. Korean special forces were also
in Vietnam. Those whom I have met are proud to have served there. Many of
them, grizzled old veterans, turn up at demonstrations in Seoul protesting
leftist demos, NKorean human rights violations, North Korean dynastic rule
etc. They love to wear their old uniforms with ribbons awarded for Vietnam
service, including acts of individual heroism.
> Some of them also talk quite openly about what they did in Vietnam -- and
could provide material supporting your thesis re "the type of warfare that
they had to fight in Vietnam,
> including guerrilla warfare and civilian warfare." Strongly suggest you
come here and interview some while they're still around. They'd tell you a
lot, good and bad. Sorry to say, one of them once boasted to me of a
personal "body count" of 300 victims -- would doubt if all of them were
"enemy." On the other hand, they were also known for high levels of
efficiency and success in their AO's.
> Good luck on the project.
> Don Kirk
> --- On Sat, 4/14/12, Kevin Shepard <kevin_shepard at yahoo.com> wrote:
> From: Kevin Shepard <kevin_shepard at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [KS] Brian Hwang's Discussion Question
> To: "koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws" <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> Date: Saturday, April 14, 2012, 1:40 PM
> I think you will be hard-pressed to justify calling individual soldiers
mercenaries - the Korean government may have received funds from the US,
but ROK soldiers were drafted into mandatory service. If you come across
documentation that individuals volunteered for Vietnam in order to receive
funds from the US, please send such documents to me.
> Kevin Shepard, Ph.D.
> Strategist
> UCJ 5 Strategy Div.
> ________________________________
> From: "koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws" <
koreanstudies-request at koreaweb.ws>
> To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2012 1:00 AM
> Subject: Koreanstudies Digest, Vol 106, Issue 9
> Today's Topics:
>   1. Discussion Question (brianhwang at berkeley.edu)
>   2. March 2012 Issue of "Cross-Currents: East Asian History and
>       Culture Review" Available Online (Center for Korean Studies)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012 10:15:24 -0700
> From: brianhwang at berkeley.edu
> To: koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws
> Subject: [KS] Discussion Question
> Message-ID:
>     <7cb59ce69b486f3c15e6bba3e396a6d4.squirrel at calmail.berkeley.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain;charset=utf-8
> Hello all:
> I am a history student at University of California, Berkeley. Currently I
> am working on a paper regarding Korean involvement in the Vietnam War. My
> argument is that although Korean soldiers were 1) mercenaries (because
> they were paid predominantly by US dollars to go) and 2) anti communists
> (because of past history), the atrocities that they are accused of
> committing are not primarily due to the aforementioned reasons, but
> because of the type of warfare that they had to fight in Vietnam,
> including guerrilla warfare and civilian warfare.
> Do you all think this is a valid argument? Are there any primary sources
> that would help me in my argument, including ones that attribute Korean
> atrocities to their mercenary and anticommunist nature?
> Thank you!
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2012 11:00:21 -0700
> From: "Center for Korean Studies" <cks at berkeley.edu>
> To: <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>
> Subject: [KS] March 2012 Issue of "Cross-Currents: East Asian History
>     and    Culture Review" Available Online
> Message-ID: <037401cd199f$4b410820$e1c31860$@berkeley.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> March 2012 Issue of "Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture
Review" now online
> The second issue of IEAS's new, interactive e-journal "Cross-Currents:
East Asian History and Culture Review" is now online. The theme of the
March 2012 issue is "Japanese Imperial Maps as Sources for East Asian
History: The Past and Future of the Gaih?zu" (guest edited by K?ren Wigen,
professor of History at Stanford). Visit
http://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/issue-2 to read the articles,
a review essay written by Timothy Cheek (University of British Columbia)
about Ezra Vogel's new book on Deng Xiaoping, and abstracts of important
new scholarship in Chinese. The March issue of the e-journal also features
a photo essay by Jianhua Gong documenting Shanghai's longtang alleyways.
> A joint enterprise of the Research Institute of Korean Studies at Korea
University (RIKS) and the Institute of East Asian Studies at the University
of California at Berkeley (IEAS), "Cross-Currents" offers its readers
up-to-date research findings, emerging trends, and cutting-edge
perspectives concerning East Asian history and culture from scholars in
both English-speaking and Asian language-speaking academic communities.
> * * ** **
> March 2012 issue of "Cross-Currents" e-journal
> (See http://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/issue-2)
> *Co-Editors' Note*
> Building an Online Community of East Asia Scholars
> Sungtaek Cho, Research Institute of Korean Studies (RIKS), Korea
> Wen-hsin Yeh, Institute of East Asian Studies (IEAS), University of
California, Berkeley
> *Japanese Imperial Maps as Sources for East Asian History: The Past and
Future of the Gaihozu*
> Introduction to "Japanese Imperial Maps as Sources for East Asian
History: The Past and Future of the Gaihozu"
> Guest editor K?ren Wigen, Stanford University
> Japanese Mapping of Asia-Pacific Areas, 1873-1945: An Overview
> Shigeru Kobayashi, Osaka University
> Imagining Manmo: Mapping the Russo-Japanese Boundary Agreements in
Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, 1907-1915
> Yoshihisa T. Matsusaka, Wellesley College
> Triangulating Chosen: Maps, Mapmaking, and the Land Survey in Colonial
> David Fedman, Stanford University
> Mapping Economic Development: The South Seas Government and Sugar
Production in Japan's South Pacific Mandate, 1919--1941
> Ti Ngo, University of California, Berkeley
> *Forum*
> Asian Studies/Global Studies: Transcending Area Studies and Social
> John Lie, University of California, Berkeley/
> Defenders and Conquerors: The Rhetoric of Royal Power in Korean
Inscriptions from the Fifth to Seventh Centuries
> Hung-gyu Kim, Korea University
> *Review Essays and Notes*
> Of Leaders and Governance: How the Chinese Dragon Got Its Scales
> Timothy Cheek, University of British Columbia
> A Note on the 40th Anniversary of Nixon's Visit to China
> William C. Kirby, Harvard University
> *Photo Essay*
> "Shanghai Alleyways" by photographer Jianhua Gong
> Essay by Xiaoneng Yang, Stanford University
> *Readings from Asia*
> Ge Zhaoguang , Dwelling in the Middle of the Country: Reestablishing
Histories of "China" [????:????"??"???]
> Abstract by Wennan Liu, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
> Wang Qisheng, Revolution and Counter-Revolution: Republican Politics in
Social-Cultural Scope [???????????????????]
> Abstract by Bin Ye, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences
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