An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Dec. 15, 2017

Warrior Division Soldiers recognized by US Embassy, USFK

By Master Sgt. Kevin Doheny 2nd Infantry Division

Five Warrior Division Soldiers were formally recognized for saving the life of a North Korean defector Nov. 13 by the Honorable Marc Knapper, charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy-Korea, and Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, U.S. Forces-Korea/United Nations Command/ROK-US Combined Forces Command commanding general during a ceremony at the Habib House, the U.S. ambassador's residence in Seoul, Dec. 14.

The quick actions by Soldiers from the Joint Security Area and an aero-medical evacuation crew from 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, performed emergency life-saving procedures, which resulted in saving the life of the defector who was shot five times and was minutes from dying from his injuries. 

"What goes unnoticed, in much of the telling of these events, is the hard work involved in building and maintaining the relationships that allowed for such a successful operation," said Knapper. "It is not just our capabilities, our training, our equipment, or our knowledge that provides strength to the Alliance. It is our ability to work together in using these tools that makes the Alliance so strong."

"The North Korean security forces, who fired at the soldier defecting to the South, tried to break his will for freedom," said Brooks. "ROK-U.S. service members with other goodwill broke into the situation and took positive action to rescue the soldier."

Thirteen individuals were honored Thursday for their contributions to the life-saving effort. Among them, the 'Dust Off' medevac crew, which included Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric Tirro, Sgt. 1st Class Gopal Singh, Spc. Carroll Moore, and Pfc. Karina Lopez. The fifth crew member, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nathan Gumm, who piloted the rescue transport, had already transitioned from Korea at the time of the ceremony; however his recognition will be forwarded to his next duty station.

According to reports, the JSA trauma team that originally treated the defector contacted the MEDEVAC crew, based out of Camp Casey, 15 minutes by air from the DMZ. The flight crew arrived on-site where the defector was loaded onto their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and immediately began performing first aid, and continued during the 80-kilometer transport to Ajou Hospital, Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. 

Once they arrived at the hospital the flight crew then carefully transported the defector to the trauma team where surgeons began performing more extensive medical treatment, which continued for several days.

The defector is currently in stable condition and continues to recover from his injuries.
"ROK-U.S. service members really made a big difference," said Brooks. "Years of training and cooperation between our two countries made this possible."

"You and your actions represent what the alliance is truly about," said Knapper to the honorees. "I am honored to recognize your contributions and to celebrate with you today."
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility Welcomes ASC Personnel
Twenty-eight ASC [formerly known as the Australian Submarine Corporation] personnel pose for a photo at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF), Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, July 16, 2024. The team is part of the Australia, United Kingdom and United States (AUKUS) enhanced trilateral security partnership. They will be trained and certified on various aspects of submarine maintenance to support the AUKUS Pillar 1 program that is supporting Australia’s acquisition of sovereign conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines. PHNSY & IMF is a field activity of NAVSEA and a one-stop regional maintenance center for the Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawai’i, with a combined civilian and military workforce of approximately 6,400. It is the most comprehensive fleet repair and maintenance facility between the U.S. West Coast and the Far East, strategically located in the heart of the Pacific, being about a week’s steaming time closer to potential regional contingencies in the Indo-Pacific.

The AUKUS Integration and Acquisition Program Office is responsible for executing the trilateral partnership to support Australia’s acquisition of sovereign, conventionally armed, nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines at the earliest possible date while setting the highest nuclear stewardship standards and continuing to maintain the highest nonproliferation standard. The AUKUS partnership is a strategic endeavor that will uplift the industrial bases of the three partners and promote a safe, free and open Indo-Pacific, ensuring an international, rules-based order is upheld in the region.

To learn about AUKUS Pillar 1 and the Optimal Pathway, visit ---- FACT SHEET: Trilateral Australia-UK-US Partnership on Nuclear-Powered Submarines | The White House

(U.S. Navy photo by Claudia LaMantia)
July 18, 2024 - Twenty-eight ASC Pty Ltd [formerly known as the Australian Submarine Corporation] personnel began training at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as part of...

United States-Japan-Republic of Korea Trilateral Chiefs of Defense Joint Press Statement
Washington, D.C. - Joint Staff Seal
July 18, 2024 - U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., Japan Chief of Staff, Joint Staff Gen. YOSHIDA Yoshihide, and Republic of Korea (ROK) Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Kim Myung-soo convened a Trilateral Chiefs of...

Successful conclusion of Humanitarian Assistance, Disaster Relief training at RIMPAC 2024
Participants from eight nations pose for a photo, July 15, to mark the end of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) drill as part of Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2024. Twenty-nine nations, 40 surface ships, three submarines,14 national land forces, more than 150 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC in and around the Hawaiian Islands, June 27 to Aug.1.The world`s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world`s oceans. RIMPAC 2024 is the 29th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Keigo Sugiura)
July 18, 2024 - The Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) portion of the multinational joint exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2024 has come to a successful close, July 15. HADR is a military cooperation that aims to save...

U.S., Philippine Forces Execute Joint Maritime Security Training Exercise
Philippine Special Forces soldiers conduct Visit, Board, Search and Seizure drills during a Joint Maritime Security Training Exercise off the coast of Jolo Island, Philippines, April 16, 2024. The exercise, which is led by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and supported by U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific operators, strengthens maritime domain security by rehearsing interagency communication and maritime interdiction techniques.
July 17, 2024 - For decades, the Sulu Archipelago, a collection of three main provinces in the southern Philippines, has served as a primary route for trafficking, illegal fishing, and smuggling illicit materials into the country. The...

Readout of Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III's Call With Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro Jr.
July 17, 2024 - Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro Jr. spoke by phone today...