SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) — South Korea on Thursday presented medals to seven U.S. Forces Korea members who are descendants of Korean War veterans, in an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict, the defense ministry said.
Defense Minister Suh Wook hosted the ROK-U.S. Alliance Remembrance and Appreciation Event at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul. ROK stands for South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.
About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea to deter North Korean aggression, a legacy of the 1950-53 conflict, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the divided peninsula still technically at war.
“The South Korea-U.S. alliance, forged through blood under gunfire during the Korean War, maintains peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and has become the foundation for South Korea’s democracy and economic growth,” Suh said in a welcoming speech.
Amid persisting nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, the minister called for a firm combined defense posture based on the alliance, saying South Koreans will forever remember all those who sacrificed for the country’s freedom and peace.
Suh bestowed the Guardian of Freedom medals to five USFK officers and two civilian workers, who are descendants of Korean War veterans.
One of them is 1st Lt. Benjamin White of the U.S.-led United Nations Command, a Korea-born adoptee whose grandfather, George White, participated in the war.
He said he feels grateful to serve in the country where he was born, vowing to do his best for a firm South Korea-U.S. alliance.