Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | May 17, 2022

Faith and Service: U.S. Army Chaplain Upholds Century-long Family Legacy in U.S., Korea

By Walter Ham

U.S. Army -- The multitalented Army chaplain who serves at the U.S. military’s only multifunctional all hazards command can preach a sermon, play a song and break a stack of bricks.

Lt. Col. Martin S. Cho is not only a well-respected United States Army chaplain serving at the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive (CBRNE) Command but he is also a second degree Tae Kwon Do black belt, a former elite South Korean Army Special Forces officer and a motorcycle rider who plays the saxophone.

Cho’s extraordinary story of faith and service spans more than 110 years and bonds two nations across a vast ocean.

Born in South Korea in 1964, Cho grew up in a determined nation that was recovering from a devastating war. The Korean War had ended just 11 years earlier in an armistice that remains in effect today.

Cho followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather and became a minister. His grandfather received a Bible from American missionary Horace Grant Underwood more than 110 years earlier.

When it came time for him to do his mandatory service in the South Korean military, Cho was selected for the Republic of Korea Army’s elite counterterrorism unit called the 703rd Special Operations Battalion. His unit was a forerunner to the ROK Army’s 707th Special Mission Battalion, the equivalent to the U.S. Army’s most elite Special Forces unit.

In the South Korean Special Forces, he served close to the Korean Demilitarized Zone during times of heightened tension. Cho participated in intense training to stay ready for anything along the world’s most heavily guarded border, including a 250-mile march with a 45-pound ruck pack through mountainous terrain along the Korean DMZ.

He immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s and served as a minister at churches in Hawaii and California.

Then 9/11 happened and Cho decided to join the military again, this time as an Army chaplain for his new nation.

Today, he serves as the command chaplain for the 20th CBRNE Command, the multifunctional Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-headquartered command that confronts and defeats the world’s most dangerous hazards. From 19 bases in 16 states, Soldiers and civilians from 20th CBRNE Command deploy to support joint, interagency and allied operations.

This summer, Cho will return to South Korea to serve as the deputy garrison chaplain for U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, the U.S. military’s largest overseas military installation and the headquarters post for all U.S. troops on the Korean Peninsula.

Cho said he was motivated to serve to honor the sacrifice of those who went before him – the nearly 55,000 U.S. Soldiers who gave their lives for freedom on the Korean Peninsula and the missionaries who risked their lives to share the word of God.

“From my father’s experience, I know that liberty is really important, and through faith and service, we can change the world for the better,” said Cho.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
324,747
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S. INDOPACOM announces establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill
220630-N-BD629-1009 CAMP H.M. Smith, Hawaii (June 30, 2022) Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Adm. John C. Aquilino addresses members of the media during a press conference announcing the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill. JTF Red Hill, in close coordination with the State of Hawaii, will oversee the safe and expeditious defueling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, demonstrating DoD’s commitment to remove fuel as quickly as possible, in a safe and informed manner, and with full transparency to regulators, intergovernmental partners, and with the people of Hawaii. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith/Released)
July 1, 2022 - CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, announced the establishment of Joint Task Force Red Hill (JTF Red Hill) on June 30.The Secretary of Defense directed the standup of JTF...

Rim of the Pacific 2022 Officially Begins
Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 participants network at the Southern California opening ceremony. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. 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 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Navy -- Twenty-six nations, 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national land forces, more than 30 unmanned systems, approximately 170 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel will train and operate in and around the...

Chief of Naval Operations, Japanese Chief of Staff Meet to Discuss Maritime Security
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday meets with Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai during an office call at the Pentagon, June 28. The two leaders discussed maritime security and ongoing efforts to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
June 30, 2022 - WASHINGTON -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday hosted the Chief of Staff of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Adm. Ryo Sakai in Washington, D.C., for an office visit, June 28.The two leaders discussed...

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022
Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Peter Haas on Account of U.S. Independence Day 2022.
June 30, 2022 - U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh -- Good afternoon, everyone! And thank you for joining us for this celebration of the 246th anniversary of U.S. independence. Independence Day in America is a day of red, white, and blue; a day of...

The U.S. Provides Immediate Assistance to Respond to Drought in Kiribati
US $500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across Kiribati
June 30, 2022 - SUVA, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu -- The U.S., through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing US$500,000 in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought across...