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.

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