9.23.2012

The Land of Korea

Hello,

Greetings and salutations from the land of Japan. Family and friends, this most recent blog entry covers my business trip to The Land of Korea. I spent five days and four nights working with my Shop's "Higher Headquarters" over future joint training exercises to take place next year. I arrived on the tail-end of Typhoon Sanba so the weather was rainy and overcast. Luckily, the rain stopped that night and the weather remained perfect; low 70s throughout the day and mid 60s at night. The capital city of Seoul sits at a much higher elevation than Okinawa so, even though I was only 700 miles north of the island, the weather was excellent.

The first day was nothing but travel and getting settled. Tuesday morning was a short day as meetings were concluded by 12:30. My associate and shop-mate that accompanied me, SSgt Frame, and I immediately went out in town to sample some of the Korean cuisine.

Lunch cost 10,000 Won each so about $8 U.S.

For lunch we had spicy beef noodle soup, locally brewed Cass beer, and free "all-you-can-eat" appetizers. Top right - sweet dried fish rehydrated semi-spicy with asparagus-like veggies. Top left - egg-tofu mixture with semi-cheese-like cream in the middle. Bottom right - seaweed, sesame seeds, and spinach stuff. Middle - Spicy edamame beans. Bottom left - spicy cucumber like substance that was semi-sweet and a little bit like melon consistency. Bottom middle - onions, red peppers, avacado slices in a vinegary broth.

The main entrance and parade ground. Each flag is of the nations that fought or supported the Korean War.

After lunch I toured around the local stores and, eventually, made my way to The War Memorial of Korea. I spent the next four hours learning about how unfriendly North Korea is towards South Korea; it was very informative in many ways.


From the main road this is the first view of the War Museum. This sculpture lies at the entrance and renders respect to all nations that stood beside South Korea during the Korean War. The bronze statues surrounding it render honor to all branches of the South Korean armed services.

 
When North Korea launched a surprise invasion of the South the ROK was severely undermanned, poorly equipped, and inadequately supplied. 

 
Leaflets dropped throughout the war compelling soldiers of the North to surrender. An effective version of Information Operations.

21 attacks to date. Most recently, the sinking of Cheonan killing 47 sailors.

As stated in the picture, "From the invasion, which triggered the Korean War, to the present day, North Korea has continuously engaged in provocative acts such as assassination attempts on South Korea Leaders, guerrilla infiltration, terrorist attacks on civilian planes, and nuclear threats." 

Similar to America's Vietnam Memorial, all the names of lost ROK service members are inscribed on large, black granite blocks. This is one of two halls honoring them.

Outside the War Museam is all the military hardware used during the war: tanks, planes, artillery, etc.


 
And a patrol boat...  

Wednesday was filled with meetings briefed by the ROK (Republic of Korea) staff. Very slow and scripted as it required interpreters to translate every few sentences. However, it was a unique experience and informative. That night I, again, ventured out in town and shopped around, ate a lot, and explored. I found that South Koreans love to eat. They have themed restaurants of every culture: Brazilian steakhouse, Turkish Kebabs, Spanish Tapas, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, American burger joints. They also have many restaurants that specialize in one type of food: Chicken, Chicken and Beer, Pizza, Noodle shops, Mexican churros. They love to eat.

Holy Cow! A Chinese Restaurant in Seoul!

I was so hungry after looking at so many different restaurants I forgot to take a picture of my traditional Korean dinner. For dessert, I had Greek coffee and baklava. After this, I had a pint of Guiness for second dessert at an Irish Pub.

Thursday was also a short day of 'work'. I continued exploring around the city taking in all the exotic wonders of Korean craftmanship. I witnessed some of the finest pottery, clothing, jewelry, wood works.....

.....and socks. Hail to the Chief.

The trip was short, sweet, and to the point with some time for experiencing a new culture without having to worry about shooting them. 

Thanks to LoveBug for all of her support in creating this blog.

Sincerely,
Mark

3 comments :

  1. Great job. Wish we had been there. My dad's brother Joe flew jet fighters over the ROK during that engagement. Last I knew he was in FL womewhere.

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  2. WOW, that was a whirlwind experience!!! Thanks for all the pictures and stories to go with them. Sounds like a tough job, but glad you're able to do it. ;) Write more soon.

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  3. Very cool! Love the name of the chinese place... I love getting out and eating at new places while on travel. Getting to see the memorial was a nice bonus too!
    We watched this documentary called "CHOSIN" the other night on Netflix. A few survivors of the 1st Marine Division told their story first-hand of the Chosin Reservoir campaign during the Korean War. VERY powerful - highly recommended.

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