Tag Archives: korea

Medal of Honor Chaplain Kapaun Memorialized in Korea

Chaplain (Capt) Emil Kapaun was memorialized with a monument at Camp Walker, South Korea, in December.

After decades of efforts, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Kapaun posthumously in April 2013.

“This is the valor we honor today,” President Barack Obama said during the award ceremony, “an American soldier who didn’t fire a gun, but who wielded the mightiest weapon of all: a love for his brothers so pure that he is willing to die so that they might live.”

To think, some atheists claim there are no chaplains on the front lines in the US military…

Airman Highlights Conflict with Religion, Homosexuality

SrA Kayla Dale talks with other participants in the gay pride parade, June 7, 2014, in Seoul, Republic of Korea. (USAF photo, SSgt Jake Barreiro)

The 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs ran an interesting human interest story on Senior Airman Kayla Dale, describing how she escaped the “dark realities of inner-city Chicago” to become an Air Force Airman.

Perhaps as a result of the June celebration of “LGBT pride” in the DoD, the article highlights sexuality, noting she is a “double minority” as an “African-American lesbian.” The article even quotes her Aunt — and takes the time to point out that she, too, is a lesbian.

More interesting, however, is that Dale notes her personal conflict between religious belief and sexuality:  Continue reading

US Chaplains Teach Koreans Field Ministry

Chaplains (Cmdr) John Owen shows the contents of a chaplain field kit to Republic of Korea Marine Corps chaplains…(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew Manning)

A group of US military chaplains exchanged ideas with their Korean counterparts during MEFEX 14 in South Korea. The article notes that the Koreans have chaplains, too, but apparently are most comfortable in the chapel setting. They were interested in learning how the US chaplains performed ministry in the field:

The ROK Marine chaplains are very capable and very gifted ministers but mainly in the chapel setting. They really want to understand what field ministry looks like when their units deploy to combat.

Read more.

Soldier Grows in Faith, Prepares for Chaplaincy

An official Army article highlights the story of Sgt Peter Adams, an ordained minister working on his Masters in Divinity, recently accepted as a chaplain’s candidate:

Prior to enlisting in the Army, Adams was ordained as a minister at the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel in Springfield, Mo. Once he enlisted, he received orders to South Korea…

Read more about Sgt Adams’ story.

Former Korean Soldier Speaks at Austin Prayer Breakfast

Sung Joon Jang is a faculty member at Baylor University and was the featured speaker at the Austin, TX, Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. He grew up in his native Korea, where he fulfilled his mandatory military service:

“My dad was an atheist…and since I was young, I heard, ‘There is no God,’ and that religion was for feeble-minded people – at best,” Jang told the audience.

But his conversion to Christianity came while serving his country.

“My conversion happened in the military,” Jang said of his mandatory service in the Korean Army. A fellow military member approached him and asked him whether he had read the Bible.

He said he had responded, “I will read the Bible and tell you what’s wrong with the Bible…”

Jang said he read the New Testament and Continue reading

US Military Homosexuals Find Conflict in Foreign Policies

The Stars and Stripes highlights the issues with open homosexuals trying to obtain official status while serving with US forces in Korea:

Romel Ballesteros can drive on post, drop his sons off at school, sign in guests and use the bank. But he can’t put gas in the family car or shop for groceries.

The stay-at-home father of two won’t even be allowed to watch his sons visit Santa Claus at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan’s post exchange during the Christmas season.

The reason?

Ballesteros is married to a man…

The article seems to imply the US military is to blame:  Continue reading

US Military Christian Preschool Moves Off Post

The Mustard Seed preschool program had been run at the US Army garrison at Yongsan, South Korea, for more than 30 years.  Apparently, someone applied to become director of the preschool but was rejected — so they filed an anonymous complaint that triggered an investigation of the entire program.

Initially, the Army was simply going to shut it down, but it relented when parents voiced their concerns over the hardship a sudden closure would cause.  The Mustard Seed school has now moved off post to Seoul International Baptist Church, where it can still serve US troops and civilians without military involvement.

“We decided to see if it would work, and it worked beautifully,” said Jon Goldsmith, executive director of the Seoul International Baptist Church, which now operates the Mustard Seed Preschool. “It’s not really out of context for us because we have a large military presence at our church, and we were the closest church to the base, with a sizeable representation from the base.”

Rep Excoriates Obama, Weinstein on Religious Freedom

Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) published a lengthy and very strongly worded column that summed up what he called “Obama’s War on Religion in the Ranks.”

If Army chaplain Emil Kapaun served in Afghanistan today rather than Korea six decades ago, President Obama would probably give the Catholic priest discharge papers instead of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Read here.

Korean Christianity: Military Chaplains and America

An interesting, if wordy and sometimes hard to follow, paper entitled “South Korea’s Christian Military Chaplaincy in the Korean War – religion as ideology?” was recently published by Vladimir Tikhonov, a Soviet-born professor at Oslo University with a doctorate in ancient Korean history.  It seeks to find the “reason for the rapid growth” of Christianity in South Korea — which the author suggests is the military chaplaincy:  Continue reading

Chaplains Practice Wartime Role in Korea

An Air Force article documents the story of Chaplain (Maj) Robert Borger, deputy wing chaplain at Osan Air Base, Korea, as he “played” in a wartime exercise:

Chaplains play a huge role in the hospital during times of war. They give hope and comfort in the last minutes of the lives of those expected to die.

“During wartime, we provide care and ministry to the critically injured,” said [Chaplain] Robert Borger…”We spend their last moments with them, providing care, to give them a view to that window of hope.”

Chaplains need to train to their duties just as other troops do.  In the photo above, Chaplain Borger sports his chemical protection suit (and obligatory reflective belt…).

Yongsan Chapel Preschool to Close after Complaint

The Mustard Seed preschool operated at an Army base in South Korea will be closed after military leaders received a complaint it was operating illegally.  After commanders reviewed the program’s status, they determined there were no regulations governing the operation — thus, it had to be closed.

A long-running Christian preschool at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan will close at the end of the school year due to Continue reading

US Army Chapel Christian Preschool May be Shuttered

A Stars and Stripes article describes a fairly unusual situation at the US Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul, South Korea, in which a Christian preschool is run by an Army chapel:

Garrison officials say a recent anonymous complaint prompted them to look at whether the Mustard Seed Preschool has been operating illegally Continue reading

Federal Lawsuit Threatened over Fighter Pilot Songs, Traditions

Most recent articles on the high visibility sexual scandals in the Air Force have focused on charges of sexual assault, largely with reference to the Lackland basic training incidents.  Despite a fairly thorough article at the New York Times (which included that topic), almost no one has been talking about Air Force Technical Sergeant Jennifer Smith — who is threatening to sue the US Air Force over the sexually-charged atmosphere in the fighter pilot world.  (The Air Force Times picked up on the story just days ago.)

This is particularly notable in light of the recent “health and welfare inspection” ordered by Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen Mark Welsh, since the inspection seems to precisely target some of TSgt’s Smith’s allegations (yet the media continues to connect it to other accusations).   Notably, there are reports Shaw AFB — where TSgt Smith reportedly lodged the complaint — did a “health and welfare” inspection weeks before Gen Welsh ordered it Air Force wide.  The organization representing TSgt Smith, “Protecting our Defenders,” certainly made the connection.

As noted in the New York Times more than a month ago, TSgt Smith has filed an “administrative complaint” (PDF, with attachments) that reads much like a primer on the vices of the fighter pilot world.  She seeks  Continue reading

Kunsan Air Base Chaplains Defend Military Marriages

The Air Force assignments in Korea are generally one-year remotes, meaning Airmen are stationed in Korea for a year while their family waits back home.  That doesn’t mean the Air Force stops supporting their families and helping them strengthen their marriages.  In fact, the opposite is true:

A Marriage Care Retreat hosted by the Kunsan AB Chapel from Aug. 8-10 here gave them and 20 other couples the chance to work on their relationships.

The Kunsan Chapel intended the Marriage Care Retreat to be a means for those “physically separated from their spouses to still connect with them,” though it also Continue reading

The Fighter Pilot Elephant Walk

Five different fighter squadrons at Kunsan Air Base, Korea, recently loaded every available aircraft in its go-to-war configuration and then conducted an “elephant walk” — taxiing slowly down the runway in a mass formation and back to parking.

In theory, the elephant walk tests every part of a unit’s ability to go to war — including loading live weapons — except actually launching/flying.  It proves that, if called upon, a unit can generate (almost) every aircraft in its combat configuration on a specific timeline.  While it might seem odd to taxi around the field, even Continue reading