ROK Marines

I was in the Corps from 91-98, and in ’03 I joined the Army Reserve, and in ’05, I went active duty Army and got shipped off to Korea. Well, I’m out of the Army now due to a torn up knee, but I really miss the “good ol’ days.” They didn’t have digital cameras when I was in Okinawa, but I didn’t blow my chance when I got to Korea. I knew the tight relationship and history between the USMC and the ROK Marine Corps, and when our KATUSA’s (Korean Augmentation To U. S. Army) learned that I had served in the Corps, I got a lot of attention. I learned that even though the Korean people are peace-minded and tend to shy away from military actions, they have an intense pride in the ROK Marines. There’s ROKMC souvenir stores everywhere, and every one I visited had ROKMC veterans hanging around swapping stories. Sound familiar?

Anyway, I went on a DMZ tour and toured the Korean War Museum while I was there, and I have probably over a thousnd pics on my computer from my year there. Here’s three that I like a lot. The first one is at OP Dora, overlooking the DMZ and into North Korea. The other two are in the Korean War Museum in the ROKMC Memorial Room.

Just as a bit of info, military service in South Korea is mandatory, but they have a choice as to where they want to go. Most young men just want to do their two years in the ROK Army and go back to college. But service in the ROK Marine Corps is strictly voluntary, and their boot camp is as tough as Parris Island (only 5 times colder in the winter). Another thing: ROK Marines consider US Marines their brothers…they also celebrate November 10th. Must be a Marine thing…

Robert Johns Jr.

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Dan Otto

    While in Schools Battalion at Quantico, I had the pleasure of watching a young ROK hand five swabbies their buttz. The sawbbies ONLY mistake was making fun of his uniform. Respect earned.

  • Jim Harris

    We, 9th Engineers, built a floating bridge for the ROK Marines a few miles north of Chu Lai in 1967. They were tough. A rumor I heard was if one was found asleep on guard duty, he didn’t wake up.

  • Gary Nash

    Also heard the same stories about ROK Marines in RVN. Plus, there were no booby traps outside the hamlets in their TAOR or that was the end of that hamlet!

  • Sgt Ted K. Shimono

    Met a few ROK Marines during my assignments into SEA during 1960. Did I get some wierd looks from them. What was a Japanese American doing in the USMC? Had to explain that any American can join any branch of the military of their choice. They protected my back and I protected their back on patrol later. Pretty good friends.


    MARINES ARE THE SAME,ALL OVER THE GLOBE ! I was deployed with BLT 3/2 in 1964, to the Carribean, we reinforced the Marine Barracks at GITMO, ( the only Marine Barracks with tank platoon attached). We stood guard duty on the fence to reinforce the GITMO Marines. On one Liberty port in Aruba,which was a colony of the Netherlands , we were welcomed by the local detachment of Dutch Marines. They were just like our Brothers, hard working, tough, and gave us one hell of a Mess night , and a hard night of drinking. They were so proud to be Marines, they said in the Netherlands,if you wanted to be with the best, you joined the Marines. By the time we left, many of us were “out of uniform ” as we traded our covers and EGA ‘s with our Dutch Brothers, even the officers got into it. This proves that there is a commradery among all Marines. This was reinforced years later when in the USMCR ,our unit hosted a Royal Marine Detachment that arrived in Providence,RI aboard the British Mine Sweeper HMS Eskimo, more Marines with the same mindset, OORAH! GYSGT Dan Marso

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