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NEWS | Oct. 3, 2013

ROK President awards 7 AF Presidential Unit Citation

By Tech. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher 7th Air Force Public Affairs

Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, Seventh Air Force commander, accepted from Republic of Korea President Park Geun-Hye the Presidential Unit Citation to Seventh Air Force on Oct. 1 as part of the Korean Armed Forces Day celebration at Seoul Air Force Base, Republic of Korea.

Seventh Air Force received the award for longstanding achievements in operational readiness and force employment.

Standing at the end of a long line of Korean military leaders receiving the same citation on behalf of their units, Jouas' presence as the sole American in that line highlighted 7 AF's contribution to the defense of the Republic of Korea and the strength of the ROK-U.S. alliance.

"It was an honor to accept this award from President Park on behalf of all Airmen in Seventh Air Force," Jouas said. "They, along with all the members of our combined and joint Airpower Team, made this recognition possible. Together we continue to strengthen our alliance and enhance its ability to deter aggression, defend the Republic of Korea, and if necessary, defeat any attack against this nation."

The award was last issued to a U.S. unit in 2011 when the Army's 2nd Infantry Division was recognized for their support for Korea over the preceding 60 years.

As this award is outside of normal Department of Defense channels 7 AF officials are working with the Air Force Personnel Center to determine the criteria for the proper wear of the award. Regardless of whether they can wear it or not, 7 AF Airmen were touched by the gesture.

"I feel very appreciative of the ROK President's gesture with this recognition," said Staff Sgt. Justin Bernal, 604th Air Support Operations Squadron Commander's Support Staff NCOIC at Camp Red Cloud. "It truly exemplifies the unique partnership between the American military and the South Korean military. The award says a great deal about my contributions here on the Peninsula, and the receipt of the ROK Presidential Unit Citation lets me know my role here is recognized and appreciated."
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