Day out at ROK Marine Corps HQ
Republic of Korea Marine Corps HQ Photos
These will be made into a webpage. Photos taken 15 Mar 01. This is the rough holding area before the pictures are cut and renamed.
THE FINAL PAGE (about ROKMC HQ) with this rough info... Pictures are easier to see on this page.
Below is a rough, non-proof read draft.
15 March 2001 Lions Club District 354-A with members of both Lions Club and ROK/US Marine Friendship Association visited Republic of Korea (ROK) HQ Marine Corps near Suwon. The ROK/US Marine Friendship Assn members were also members of the Blue Dragon section which is composed of former Marines. The ROK Marine Corps were great host and you can see what we saw when our bus stopped. The band was playing and the Commandant of the ROKMC (CMC), Lt Gen Kim, Myung-Hwan gave a special medallion to each attendee. The Lions Club District 354-A donated 50 TVs, 50 VCRs and 11 million won for the Marines. I also saw their barracks...as a former US Marine who lived in the 60 man squad bays in Camp Lejeune.... that was luxury. The 12 man rooms with small open SQUARED AWAY lay outs are sharp, but we were lucky...and today's Marines are even luckier! The Lions Club members are truly remembering their motto, "We Serve!"
After our greeting with the band and the CMC, we observed the ROKMC Silent Drill Team. WOW! They are great!! They did many of the moves I have seen else where. They had fixed bayonets throughout their show. They exchanged rifles while marching and twirled the rifles in the air. BUT at the end of the show they fired their weapons which were loaded the whole time!!! Great show! True professionals!!
We got a great briefing on ROKMC history and current activities in the HQs conference room. Mr. Yang, Chul Woo, President of District 354-A Lions Club presented to the CMC the gifts from Lions Club. The CMC gave Lions Club a plaque. The entrance to HQ building has digital modern display of all aspects of the weather. An interesting addition to a military HQ.
Then it was time for lunch, and a trip to the mess hall. It was fun to see how the young Marines got to eat... the old metal trays. They were very functional for Korean cuisine and the meal was great! I got a chance to talk to both CMC and the Assistant CMC MG Bae who speaks English better then myself. He is a graduate of USMC TBS, and the USMC Amphibious Warfare School. He as also served a tour of duty as the Naval Attaché in Washington DC. This summer is the rotation for the CMC and MG Bae may be the next CMC. Both CMC and ACMC look like poster Marines. They have military bearing and you could never forget they were a Marine. The next commandant has to go thru a selection process similar to USMC CMC, with ROK CMC getting selected and endorsed by CNO, Ministry of National Defense and the President of Korea.
After lunch we went to the ROK 2d Marine Division up near the DMZ. They have a large area of the DMZ to guard. They have tours but it is different from the US run Panmunjon tours. Also, it is a high hill overlooking the water into nKorea. The terrain is set perfect for teaching map reading class! The trip up there was escorted by ROKMC MPs. With a beautiful battle hand-off from HQMC MPs to 2d Marine Division MPs after the toll road. These guys are professionals.
We first visited the Amphibian Tractor Battalion for 2d Marine Division. (The LVTP7 is home here with a ROK manufatured version of the LVTP7, just as Court House Bay, Camp Lejuene NC is home for 2MARDIV Amtracs.) They had a display set up and showed a crew drill on how quick they can get in and ready. The are some serious Marines. They were also wearing a Camy Beret which I thought was interesting in light of the US Army head gear controversy. After the viewing they told us to climb in... then they took us to where the buses would drive us to our next spot. It was a clean Amtrac that was loud and bumpy....brought back some old memories! The ROKMC Amtrac'ers of 2d Marine Division are in artillery range of most nKorean Arty. Their crew drills are done with a seriousness we in the US have not had to worry about. Getting their tracks moving under fire from their garrison is something we in the US have been lucky to not have to experience.
Next we went to the DMZ that is under the control of the ROKMC at Eagi Pong on the west coast of Korea. What sight. You can easily see into nKorea. You can also see that nKorea has chopped all the trees down from the border to 25 km in land. The reason, for fuel and protect against defectors having cover to escape. You can also see a few towns. When you look thru the binoculars, you will notice that there are no people in the towns. Buildings without people. We did see one Outpost (or in Korean GP) that had nKoreans in it. Not a lot of people close to the border.
What an exciting fun day. For Marines, it was a once and a life time event. For civilians, it was a chance to see how their country has dedicated people putting it on the line for their fellow citizens. I was the only American, and received great hospitality. Later, I will set something up for my military unit to go to visit ROK 2d Marine Div. Definitely, a good visit to see some motivated professionals.
So many good people I met... I did not want to mistakenly ID them...IF people give me or Mr. Kang a call I will get peoples names matched up with the correct photos, with CORRECT spelling... always a hard task for Americans with the Englishized Korean names. Thank you for your patience.
This is what we first saw upon arrival. Band and troops on parade field as shown below.
Jim getting a present from ROK CMC, Lt Gen Kim, Myung-Hwan
Above, ROK CMC with Lions Club District 354-A President, Mr. Yang, Chul Woo.
Below ROKMC Silent Drill Team.
Above Silent Drill Team formed up with Officer reporting to CMC.
Below CMC recieving the salute.
Jim, then B Gen Park across, next table edge is ACMC Maj Gen Bae, and CMC Lt Gen Kim, M.H.
ROK 2d Marine Division Amtracs
Mr. Kang, Kyung-Seo and Mr. Jim Lint
Starting nKorea in back ground .. water is the DMZ.
Nice village.... plenty of vacancies for Apartment rentals... (No one lives in this village North of the DMZ) Also, someone in my unit called this a nice Mobility corridor that the nKoreas keep tree free.
Lions Club members... The sign says it all. This is on top of the Observation Post looking into nKorea.
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