USAG Humphreys, Republic of Korea –
Each year in June, the Republic of Korea honors its patriots and veterans with several events throughout the month. ROK Ministry of National Defense planned this event to commemorate those who sacrificed during the Korean War. Both Killingsworth and Ji are descendants of Korean War veterans who fought to defend the ROK.
“My grandfather was assigned to the 523rd Fighter Escort Squadron under the 27th Fighter Wing during the Korean War,” Killingsworth said. “My grandfather and I shared this special bond being that I was his only grandchild to join the service. So that gave us the opportunity for him to tell me all his stories and talk about his service from serving in Korea for his first overseas assignment.”
At the start of the game, the ROK MND Band performed the ROK national anthem to honor and remember the fallen heroes who fought for our freedom.
“Personally, I think it is a great honor to be able to participate in this meaningful moment. I was a little nervous that Lt. Col. Killingsworth might hit a home run against me,” Ji said with a smile. “The reason I can stand here now is because of senior Korean soldiers and U.N. troops from 16 countries, including the United States.”
Today, June 25, marks the 72nd anniversary of the start of the Korean War. The date’s significance was not lost on either participant.
Killingsworth said she feels honored to be able to help commemorate this day in history, while Ji expressed appreciation for the soldiers who are currently working with the U.S. as one team in the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Division and all the U.S. service members in South Korea.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, and the Armistice, signed in July 1953, suspended the full-scale hostilities on the Korean peninsula.
Today, 28,500 U.S. service members stand side-by-side with their ROK partners, demonstrating America’s continued commitment to the combined defense of the peninsula.