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NEWS | Feb. 2, 2016

Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army Soldiers Take Final Steps of Military Service

By Pvt. 1st Class Kyeong Hoon Kim

YONGSAN, South Korea -- Every month, Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army (KATUSA) Soldiers, here, celebrate their final separation from the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA), in a much anticipated ceremony.

The Republic of Korea requires all males to perform government/military service for two years. For some, this means a stint in the Armed Forces; others can choose a tour of duty with the Korea National Police.

But for more than 3,800 KATUSA Soldiers, who complete their service each year, the opportunity to serve has meant living and working alongside Americans, being immersed in the English language and making intercultural friendships that can last a lifetime.

To join the KATUSA program, Korean young men must score 780 or above on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC).

Once their TOEIC scores are validated, they must apply for the KATUSA program by submitting their English test scores into a lottery system, which will decide who is selected to serve as a KATUSA.

During last month's ceremony, the Commander and Command Sergeant Major of Yongsan, South Korea ROKA Support Group, Lt. Col. Bon Heon Koo and Sgt. Maj. Kyung Suk Lee, congratulated the KATUSA Soldiers for their completed terms of service and presented them each with certificates of appreciation.

For more than 60 years, KATUSA's have been a symbol of friendship between the U.S. and ROK armies; working hard to strengthen the alliance of the two countries.

Those that fulfill their military obligation will go on to become civilians again; returning to their university studies or chosen careers.

But regardless of their life pursuits, they will always remain bonded together as KATUSA Veterans.

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