Announcement

KDVA’s U.S. Memorial Day Message

Monday, May 25, 2020 is U.S. Memorial Day during which Americans remember all those who have fallen in defense of the nation.

KDVA remembers and honors over 36,000 U.S. Service Members who gave their last full measure of devotion during the Korean War.

As we remember all that our veterans have done for the ROK-U.S. Alliance, I would like to suggest that you set aside some time this holiday weekend visiting websites (kdva.vet), viewing documentaries (kdva.vet/i-know-a-korean-war-veteran-campaign/), visiting veterans memorials (www.abmc.gov/about-us/history/korean-war-memorial) and cemeteries (following your local coronavirus guidelines), and/or starting a conversation in their honor.

Thank you very much, and please stay healthy and safe.

General (Ret.) Walter Sharp

President and Chairman, KDVA

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KDVA’s Korea Chapter Supports Eighth Army’s COVID-19 Response

KDVA Korea Chapter President, ROK Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Lee, Seo Young, and ROK Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Jung visited Eighth Army at Camp Humphreys on April 20, 2020 to deliver food and beverages to support 8A’s COVID-19 response.  Eighth Army Deputy Commander, BG Hur; G-7, COL Lynch; Deputy G-7, LTC Thayer, and other 8A Soldiers met with the KDVA Team to receive hundreds of boxes of apples and oranges, ramyon and choco pies, and orange juice and sodas.

They appreciated KDVA’s support and passed 8A CG, LTG Bills’ appreciation for KDVA’s support of 8A’s operations of the USFK quarantine area in Humphreys.

KDVA appreciates any opportunity to support the great men and women of Eighth Army!

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Happy U.S. Armed Forces Day!

On U.S. Armed Forces Day on Saturday, 16 May 2020, the KDVA Board of Directors join me in extending great appreciation to every member of America’s front line and multi-domain defense team who protect, serve, and preserve the American way of life at home and around the world.

The Korea Defense Veterans Association is proud to advocate for and support the men and women who fought for and continue to defend the irreplaceable ROK-U.S. Alliance. KDVA sincerely thanks our troops for their service to the ROK-U.S. Alliance and thanks our veterans who helped build our strong armed forces. Especially during this year’s 70th commemoration of the start of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, the people of South Korea are thankful and have supported your vital mission to help defend them and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.

It is your excellence and sacrifices that will continue to keep the ROK-U.S. Alliance a true “Alliance for the Ages.”

General (Ret.) Walter Sharp

President and Chairman, KDVA

Background:

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days.

The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.

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Expanded Regular Membership Criteria!

KDVA has expanded its regular membership to include “Retired ROK military personnel who served in MND, JCS, and/or Service HQs for at least three continuous months.”

Membership is free, to learn more and to apply, visit our membership page.

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Word from KDVA — Coronavirus: Be Armed with Reliable Information

Dear KDVA Members,

With the 11 March 2020 announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the coronavirus COVID-19 is a global pandemic, I thought I would share with you some thoughts about COVID-19’s impact on KDVA.

KDVA has been following official guidelines from our respective ROK and U.S. governments about health and safety measures. In both Seoul and the Washington, DC where the current majority of KDVA’s involvement in area activities have been, we have seen a reduction in events by many organizations. Some activities have been postponed, a few others have been cancelled, and others have moved to virtual forums.

We echo what GEN Abrams, Commander of UNC/CFC/USFK, said on 11 March pointing to the “positive” development in which the number of fresh infections in South Korea has been on a decrease over the past several days, but he still reiterated a cautious approach. GEN Abrams stated, “We are going to be very deliberate and act out of an abundance of caution … We are not going to be premature, and that requires sacrifice and burden by everyone, but in the interest of the health of the force, we are gonna be very cautious … We always have our mission to perform here. That mission has not gone away just because we have COVID-19. Our mission here is to be ready to fight tonight in the defense of the Republic of Korea.” He noted that everyone is “living this lifestyle change” and asked his people to fully comply with related guidelines and exert patience. He also praised the South Korean health authorities’ handling of the issue and vowed continued close cooperation. “We have an amazing partnership with the KCDC. They’ve been incredibly transparent, cooperative, and collaborative,” GEN Abrams said.

I would encourage our members to follow this lead in getting reliable information from official sources like the CDC and KCDC, and to act not out of fear, but armed with sound knowledge that informs your actions to mitigate and/or prevent the further spread of this disease. For example, this chart from the CDC provides the difference between cold or allergies, the flu, and the coronavirus.

We will keep you updated on KDVA activities as we continue to support the ROK-U.S. Alliance – normal KDVA activities on all our social media platforms will continue.

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Crash Landing into Freedom: The Stories of Former North Korean Soldiers

 

On Wednesday, March 4th the Korea Defense Veterans Association took part in the “Crash Landing into Freedom: The Stories of Former North Korean Soldiers” panel discussion. Hudson Institute hosted this panel discussion with two former North Korean soldiers as they discussed their escapes from the hermit kingdom. 

OH Cheong Seong defected from North Korea on November 13, 2017 via the DMZ by driving a military truck right up to the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) and running on foot towards the South Korean side, while getting shot at by his fellow North Korean soldiers. Surveillance footage of Oh’s daring escape for freedom, and news of his injuries and the state of his health, caught the attention of the world. Though gravely wounded with five bullets in his body, Oh survived the ordeal and later made a full recovery.

LEE Unggil, a former solider in North Korea’s 11th Corps Special Forces who escaped while completing university studies, will explain the plight of North Korean soldiers and the motivations for those seeking freedom.

Panelists gave insight into what life is like inside the country and describe why so many North Koreans, if given the choice, would choose freedom.

Panelists:

  • Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, Asia-Pacific Security Chair, Hudson Institute
  • Colonel Steve Lee, U.S. Army (Ret.), Senior Vice President of Operations, Korea Defense Veterans Association
  • OH Cheong Seong, Former Driver in the North Korean Panmunjom Military Police Unit of the Operations Bureau
  • LEE Unggil, Former Member of the North Korean People’s Army 11th Corps Special Forces and Member of the North Korean People’s Liberation Front

To hear LEE Unggil’s and OH Cheong Seong’s story and the panel discussion, watch the video below or click here.

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KDVA’s Engagements with ROK Minister of National Defense

February 23-24, 2020

The Republic of Korea’s Minister of National Defense, Minister Jeong, Kyeong-doo requested a meeting with the Korea Defense Veterans Association (KDVA) to discuss ROK-U.S. Alliance and veterans topics on February 23, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Minister Jeong appreciated KDVA’s efforts in supporting both the veterans of the Korean War who fought together with South Korea and defense veterans who have continued to defend South Korea and support the ROK-U.S. Alliance for nearly seven decades.  KDVA and the Minister discussed upcoming events for the 70th Commemoration of the Korean War in Seoul and Washington, DC.  KDVA thanked the Minister for his strong support for our veterans as well as his commitment to the important future of the ROK-U.S. Alliance.

Minister Jeong met with KDVA senior leaders, GEN (Ret.) Walter Sharp (KDVA Chairman and President), GEN (Ret.) John Tilelli (KDVA U.S. Vice Chairman), LTG (Ret.) Bernard Champoux (KDVA Board member), Col. (Ret.) Rocky Harder (KDVA Board member), and COL (Ret.) Steve Lee (KDVA Senior VP of Operations).

Minister Jeong is in Washington, DC to meet with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, to discuss Alliance topics and to thank veterans organizations before the 70th Commemoration of the Korean War this summer.

 

On February 24, 2020, KDVA leaders General Tilelli and General Sharp were invited to attend the wreath laying ceremony for U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and ROK Minister of National Defense Jeong, Kyeong-doo at the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

General Tilelli also attended as the Chairman of the Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation, which is responsible for ensuring that the Korean War Veterans Memorial will be maintained in perpetuity.  The nonprofit organization is also establishing a Wall of Remembrance to be incorporated with the existing Memorial. The Wall will become the permanent home to the names of the 36,574 American service members and over 8,000 Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA) who gave their lives defending the people of South Korea from aggression and ensuring their freedom. For more information or to make a donation for the Wall of Remembrance, please visit http://www.koreanwarvetsmemorial.org.

KDVA is the premier association that supports and advocates for the people who built the Alliance and continue to serve it in U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command.  KDVA is a 501C(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Virginia.  Please contact KDVA at contact@kdva.vet, visit www.kdva.vet, and follow us on Facebook (@kdva.us) and Twitter (@KDVAvets).

 


 

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KDVA Welcomes Two Recent Commanders of ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command to its Board of Directors

ImageGeneral (Ret.) Curtis “Mike” Scaparrotti

ImageGeneral (Ret.) Vincent Brooks

The Korea Defense Veterans Association (KDVA) is very proud to announce two new members to its Board of Directors:  General (Ret.) Curtis Scaparrotti and General (Ret.) Vincent Brooks.  Both Generals are well recognized and respected former commanders of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Command:  General Scaparrotti in 2013 to 2016 and General Brooks in 2016 to 2018.

“This is momentous news for the members of KDVA who are dedicated to supporting the ROK-U.S. Alliance,” said General (Ret.) Walter Sharp, the Chairman and President of KDVA.  “Both Mike and Vince are recognized internationally for building partnerships, and they have been vital in shaping the ROK-U.S. Alliance into one of the most important alliances in the world.  I am particularly thankful that they will volunteer their time and effort to personally help the ROK-U.S. Alliance.  This is a cause that each of our Board members have volunteered to do, and Mike and Vince will add even more to KDVA’s efforts with their deep love and respect for the Korean and American peoples.”

General Curtis “Mike” Scaparrotti, in 2019, completed a distinguished 41-year career in the U.S. Army as the Commander, U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, NATO. From 2013 to 2016, General Scaparrotti served as the Commander of U.S. Forces Korea / United Nations Command / Combined Forces Command in South Korea. General Scaparrotti has extensive experience leading joint, multi-national organizations and collaborating with U.S. interagency and foreign diplomats. He served in key leadership positions at the tactical-operational and strategic levels of the U.S. Military to include as the Director of Operations at U.S. Central Command and as the 69th Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He has commanded forces during Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), Support Hope (Zaire/Rwanda), Joint Endeavor (Bosnia-Herzegovina), and Assured Response (Liberia). He is a Senior Counselor at The Cohen Group, a member of the Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council, a member of the Advisory Board of the Patriot Foundation, and a Senior Fellow at the National Defense University.

General Vincent K. Brooks is a career Army officer who retired from active duty in January 2019 as the four-star general in command of over 650,000 Koreans and Americans under arms from April 2016 to November 2018 during a critical time on the Korean Peninsula and in northeast Asia.  He is widely respected as a speaker and leader of cohesive, innovative organizations. He is a combat veteran and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. General Brooks is on the Board of Directors of the Gary Sinise Foundation; a visiting Senior Fellow at the Harvard University Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Texas, with both the Clements Center for National Security and also the Strauss Center for International Security and Law; an Executive Fellow with the Institute for Defense and Business; and the President of VKB Solutions LLC.

General Scaparrotti and General Brooks noted that they are very thankful for this opportunity to serve on the KDVA Board given their many friends who share a passion for strengthening the ROK-U.S. Alliance.  Both look forward to helping KDVA with its outstanding programs, including, the remembrances of those who served during the Korean War, 70 years ago.  They are very optimistic about the future of KDVA in supporting the ROK-U.S. Alliance’s place in regional and international security and prosperity.

KDVA continues to be the premier association that supports and advocates for the people who built the Alliance and continue to serve it in U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command.  KDVA is a 501C(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Virginia.  Please contact KDVA at contact@kdva.vet, visit www.kdva.vet, and follow us on Facebook ( @kdva.us) and Twitter ( @KDVAvets).

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KDVA’s Dinner with ROK Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs

KDVA’s Dinner with ROK Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs

February 20, 2020

The Korea Defense Veterans Association (KDVA) was invited to a dinner hosted by the Republic of Korea’s Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs on February 20, 2020 in Washington, DC.  Minister Park, Sam-Duck hosted this dinner for KDVA Board members to discuss KDVA’s role in advancing and supporting the ROK-U.S. Alliance and several ROK-U.S. topics related to the 70th Commemoration of the Korean War.  Minister Park was impressed by the scope and variety of activities that KDVA will host or support in 2020 that include:

  • 70th Commemoration of Korean War in Korea and United States (25 June 2020)
  • Armistice Day Commemorations in DC (27 July 2020)
  • ROK-U.S. Alliance Seminars & Forums in Korea (Summer 2020)
  • Education Conferences for Junior Enlisted / NCOs / Officers in Korea (Spring/Fall 2020)
  • 2020 CFC Former Commander/Deputy Commander Forum in DC (TBD)
  • 2020 KDVA-KUSAF Honors Night in DC (Oct 2020)
  • Meet & Greets in DC (Quarterly, next event is on February 28th at 5:00 p.m. in the Old Korean Legation Building)
  • AUSA Hot Topics on ROK-U.S. Alliance in DC

The Minister and KDVA leaders also discussed the possibility of expanding the current Korean War Veterans Revisit to Korea Program to include veterans who served after the signing of the Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953.  This expansion would broaden South Korea’s deep appreciation for the millions of U.S. Service Members who have and continue to support and defend the South Korean people for almost seven decades.

Image

Senior leaders in attendance were (from left) LTG (Ret.) JD Johnson (KDVA Board member),  LTG (Ret.) Bernard Champoux (KDVA Board member), SGM (Ret.) Troy Welch (KDVA Board member), MPVA Minister Park, Sam-Duck, GEN (Ret.) Walter Sharp (KDVA Chairman and President), MPVA Director General Lee, Seong Choon, and COL (Ret.) Steve Lee (KDVA Senior VP of Operations).  KDVA thanked the Minister for his great support of veterans in South Korea and the United States.

Minister Park is in Washington, DC to meet with U.S. government officials and veterans organizations before the 70th Commemoration of the Korean War this summer.

KDVA is the premier association that supports and advocates for the people who built the Alliance and continue to serve it in U.S. Forces Korea and Combined Forces Command.  KDVA is a 501C(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the state of Virginia.  Please contact KDVA at contact@kdva.vet, visit www.kdva.vet, and follow us on Facebook (@kdva.us) and Twitter (@KDVAvets).

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KDVA Launches New Website & Member Portal

NEW MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES & APPLICATIONS!

REGULAR MEMBERS:

  • Former and current U.S. military & DOD personnel of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) or Combined Forces Command (CFC).
  • Retired ROK military personnel who served in CFC for at least three continuous months.
  • Korean Augmentation To United States Army (KATUSA) Veterans.
  • U.S. military & DOD personnel who meet the requirements for the Korea Defense Service Medal (KDSM). 
    • 30 consecutive or 60 nonconsecutive days serving in Korea
    • KDSM requirements are in the updated (as of 5 March 2019) AR 600-2-88, Military Awards in paragraph 2-22 (see excerpt).
  • Former and current ROK government civilians of CFC and USFK, if ROK law or regulations do not prohibit.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS:

  • Adult supporters of the ROK-U.S. Alliance.
  • College students who are interested in the U.S.-ROK Alliance.

NEW MEMBER PORTAL & SEARCHABLE MEMBER DIRECTORY!

THROUGH THIS PORTAL, REGULAR AND HONORARY MEMBERS HAVE ACCESS TO:

Manage your personal membership profile and information
Search the Member Directory and connect with other members as well as Servicemembers you served with in Korea.
Engage with committees and view resources and journals
Register for events

On December 3rd, KDVA members received a separate email with information on how to access the new KDVA member portal, login and update your profile. If you didn’t receive this email or have questions, please email, contact@kdva.vet.

 

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