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Korea - The Land of the Morning Calm

November 17, 2010 | Captain Patrick Sandys

Well, it took about a grand total of thirty hours of travel, but I've made it to S. Korea, also known as the Land of the Morning Calm. It was a very easy trek, in that everything moved smoothly and there was really no issues at all. I flew from Seattle to Japan, and then from Japan to Korea. We then had a relatively quick bus ride into Seoul proper.

The experience in Korea is uniquely American, as I have not had any time to explore the areas outside the various installations we're being shuttled around. Basically, when you arrive in country you're on lock down until you've finished in-processing. In-processing for me will take almost two and a half weeks given that I have arrived around Thanksgiving and many crucial people will not be around to give the briefings we need. The installations in Korea are not much different from any base I've been to in the states, even the electric plugs are American. The Koreans that do work on post speak very good English, and are extremely friendly.

Accompanying the American forces in Korea, are Korean Augmentees to The United States Army (KATUSAs). This are usually young Korean men who have been educated in the US and are fulfilling their two year mandatory military service attached to the US Army. They are an invaluable source of information, and are extremely friendly. Because they are on every installation there is the added benefit that each installation has KATUSA "snack bars" where authentic Korean food is prepared. Any US Soldier can eat at these places as well, and the food is fantastic.

So, the first day we arrived, my Battle Buddy and I were inrpocessed and then checked into the Dragon Hill Lodge, which is a very nice hotel in Yongsan the installation within Seoul proper. There we were met by our Deputy SJA for dinner and we got to fire off as many questions as we could before we were all exhuasted from the day. I was asleep by 2000, but I unfortunately awoke at 0400, thank you jet lag. "Day Zero" of inprocessing began, and those of us heading to divisions outside of Seoul were quickly separated and taken to a different installation North of Seoul for our in-processing.

So, Battle Buddy and I are now spending the 3 day weekend trying to get used to the Cold Weather, and just getting a feel for being stationed in Korea. It really isn't that bad, and let me say it pays to be an officer. In-processing begins in ernest on Monday and will continue through Thanksgiving and finally complete sometime the week following the next. I imagine it is much like C'Ville, i.e. death by power point, just grin and bear it, it shouldn't be too bad.

I have to say, I am excited to be here and I look forward to really starting my duties with my new office, but for now it is difficult to see the forest through the trees, and that ultimate result still feels like quite a ways away.


  • Robyn
    11/19/2010 3:49 PM
    Hey Pat! Thanks for writing this. I'm really curious about what I am going to step into in December and it's nice to get at least a brief overview. Don't worry, you will be all set up at Casey before you know it. Then I'll be coming over and will bring my waffle maker and espresso machine :o). Say hello to everyone for me and keep on keeping on!
  • Carlos
    11/19/2010 6:19 PM
    Brother, I hope yours is all powerpoint. Mine was all briefings, then an epic scavenger hunt that took me to all corners of the post.
  • James
    11/19/2010 8:54 PM
    Pat, does the UCMJ have jurisdiction over a DoD Civilian?
  • Bruce Nessler
    11/22/2010 12:22 PM

    My name is Bruce Nessler and I will be attending the 184th JAOBC in Feb. 2011. I have stumbled across your blog (very interesting and most informing by the way) and learned that you are in Korea. I started at the beginning (in an attempt to get a feel for what JAOBC is going to be like) so I haven't yet delved into your Korean experience. However, I have to turn my preference sheet in on Nov. 29 and Korea is also 2nd on my list right now. Like you, I have Europe and Korea as my top two (i.e. young, single and adventurous). That being said I wondered if you can answer a few general questions for me about Korea

    1- How long is the Korea assignment, 1 year, 2 years, or more?

    2- Your favorite thing about being in Korea?

    3- Your least favorite thing about being in Korea?

    4- Did you have any say into which "area/installation" you were stationed in within Korea?

    5- Have you been able to travel any/will you have the opportunity to?

    6- I am also particularly interested in TC, and I was wondering what you are doing as a JAG in Korea and if there were TC opportunities there/

    I hope all is well with you and look forward to hearing back from you.

    Thanks so much

    Bruce Nessler

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