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Posted: 8/20/2004 5:20:13 PM EST
Just saw a picture on www.army.mil of what looks like a US soldier and a Korean Augmentee to the US Army (KATUSA) in Iraq. I assume they are from the 2nd ID and are from the brigade that is deploying to Iraq from Korea.

Okay, I left Korea in 1989 but it looks like the KATUSA program is still alive and well. Wonder how they are doing and if they like being in Iraq. I also didn't realise their support would extend to deployments outside Korea.

I spent 5 years in Korea and heard mixed reviews of the KATUSA program. Some liked them, some really didn't care for them or the program.

Link Posted: 8/20/2004 5:22:17 PM EST
He was probably getting an orientation. There will be about 3000 combat ROKs in Iraq soon. I think they were to be responsible for the northern portion of Iraq. It frees up a lot of US troops for other operations.
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 6:01:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/20/2004 6:11:50 PM EST by TimJ]
I don't think they'd deploy with KATUSA's, would they? Seems like the program was aimed at giving GI's a Korean speaker in each squad fr the defense of the peninsula, not to kill maggots in iraq.


edit-Ditto to what Doc says below. Our KATUSA's were OK troops (except Kim, who tried to shoot Krcil one night...)

TimJ A 2/503rd ROK '89-90
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 6:09:53 PM EST
The KATUSA prgram was excellent. Uneducated dumbass GIs were the ones that made it difficult at times. The men that became KATUSAS were the cream of the S Korean society in my mind. Some of my closest friends in Korea were KATUSAS. They are VERY well educated, and resourceful. If you show them the same respect they show to everyone else, they will offer their friendship. I would be more than willing to fight and die next to a KATUSA.

Nuff said.
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 8:39:48 PM EST
The program was very good and made a lot of sense but people involved were not.

Most KATUSA members were highly educated and were a little older than the average ROK soldiers while a lot of GIs were typically an under educated, immature and not so intelligent... not an ideal combination. KATUSA were expected to show respect to GIs but most GIs didn't even know what respect is so after some time GIs looked at KATUSAs as "Chinks" while KATUSAs saw typical GI as nothing more than country bumpkin.

Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:10:25 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:16:22 PM EST
Is this the US equivalent to the British Gurkas?
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:20:47 PM EST
What is this program?

Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:20:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/20/2004 9:24:21 PM EST by Lightning_P38]
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:29:08 PM EST
Did this program start during the Korean war?

Because I have a picture of my dad during that time with a Korean soldier who looked like he was wearing the same uniform.
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:29:24 PM EST
I was a K-9 handler with the 8th Security Police Squadron at Kunsan AB from 1985-1986, and we had a number of civilian Korean handlers working with us. They were all well-off financially (at least one was a millionaire) and veterans of the Korean War. One of them, Kim Kwang Sam (we called him "Father"), had been captured during the Korean War three times and had escaped each time. In my opinion, they were all very professional and taught us a great deal.
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:29:51 PM EST
what Signal BN were you with?

My borther was in 16th and they sent a crew of there once a year to train.
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:29:57 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:
Korean Augmentation To the United States Army=KATUSA. I was a Signal soldier in a Signal BN, our KATUSAs worked as supply clerks, orderly room clerks, mechanics and armorers, positions that required no security clearance. I am told that in units where security clearances were not required for thier primary mission (MP, Infantry, FA), there were KATUSAs in line positions.

Edited to add: These were Korean soldiers who were assigned to US units and fell under the US chain of command, it was understood that in case of N Korean attack they would remain with us to fight, but never had the feeling that if we were to deploy outside of Korea that they would come. They are also not paid much, as I recall if a KATUSA behaved and the senior KATUSA in the unit felt they deserved it they would recieve about $10 a month, although most of the KATUSAs in my unit seemed to be from wealthy families and always had plenty of money, and spent more than $10 a month on cell phone bills.



What unit in Korea? I was in the 501st sig bn, at Pyongtaek, Camp Humprhys.
Worked at a microwave site. I was microwave repair when active.

TXL
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 9:36:27 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/20/2004 10:24:51 PM EST




I was with A Troop, 2nd Recon. Sqdn., 10th Cav. at Camp Kaiser, 1962-63 and we had quite a few very smart KATUSAs. Had many as friends too.

I didn't think they would be allowed to deploy out of Korea, maybe things have changed.



Link Posted: 8/21/2004 7:26:06 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 7:30:03 AM EST
I would love to see and hear about the ROKs going head-to-head against the insurgents in Iraq. I think it is safe to say that it would only take one battle with the ROKs to scare the shi'ite out of the militants. The ROKs are bad ass and so very proud of it too.
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 7:34:20 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 10:18:35 AM EST
I also served in Korea, B Co. 102nd MI Bn, 2ID. We were responsible for the radar sites on the DMZ. Katusa soldiers served with us on the radar sites, they were smart, very serious about their duties. Most of them had been in college before, free time was spent reading or studying. My free time was spent doing other things while I was in Korea.
Link Posted: 9/21/2004 8:40:58 PM EST
Since I was Air Force, my only exposure to KATUSAs were what I heard from guys in the Army and I took it with a grain of salt.

I was an advisor to the ROKAF for three years in the MAGNUM program and felt as many of you did with the KATUSAs, that the quality in the ROKAF airmen I was exposed to was very high. Since we worked in the MAGNUM program the ROKAF tried to assign as many english speaking ROKAF officers, NCOs, and airmen to the program as possible. This typically meant the cream of their crop also. There were cultural differences obviously, but they were all great people and I had a blast working with them. It was some of the best times I spent in my 20 years in the Air Force.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 12:07:44 AM EST
KATUSAs (at least back in the late 80s/early 90s) were ROK Army soldiers who were "selected" to serve in US units to provide a translation capability to all units. They were supposed to be in the KATUSA program because of supieror English-speaking ability, but were generally there because their parents bribed their way into the KATUSAs because KATUSA duty was easier and safer than service in the regular ROK Army, where soldiers were routinely brutalized and sometimes killed, intentionally or through neglect. The net result was that SOME KATUSAs were there on money only, and spoke little English. They all went to ROK Army Basic, and then to a KATUSA Basic where they were trained up on US Army Common Tasks and proecedures. Units were responsible for providing the KATUSAs with specific job training. In combat arms, the KATUSAs could be VERY proficient. In our unit (MI) the KATUSAs couldn't engage in any of the operational stuff, so they worked in Supply or as clerks. They seemed to spend most of their time screwing around and dodging work, which I don't blame them for. They were mostly pretty nice guys, and I was good friends with a few of them. Nobody else can give you as good of a tour of Seoul, or show you the really interesting stuff there. Seoul is a city of about 8 million, and having a trustworthy native guide gets you into places the average "pabo miguk" (stupid American) would never see. My favorite was taking the subway to some small kick-boxing matches. In some cases, they will even let a KATUSA enlist in the US Army after they have served their mandatory 2 1/2 years in the ROK Army on active duty, though it is rare as most KATUSAs (and ROKs, for that matter) just want to go to college and get on with their lives.

The most bitter person I have ever met was a KATUSA. I don't remember his name anymore, but the was an American-born kid from California. His parents had stupidly decided to maintian dual citizenship for him. He was even set upo to enlist in the US Army. His grandmother, back in Korea,, got very sick, so he went with the family to see her one last time. While clearing customs, he was arrested by the KNP because he had not reported for his mandatory military service, yet. His parents did the best the could, bribing his way into the KATUSAs. He spoke NO Korean, and was temendously pissed that he was getting $10 a month (and toilet articles and the nasty "pine tree" cigarettes) and no GI Bill or any of the other stuff that he would have gotten if he had been able to serve in the US Army as he had planned, instead of the Korean Army. I think he was actually the most racist, anti-korean person I met over there. It probably didn't help that we enabled his behavior by feeding him beer and hard liquor, as we found his rants very entertaining. Poor guy.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 12:38:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By 2IDdoc:
The KATUSA prgram was excellent. Uneducated dumbass GIs were the ones that made it difficult at times. The men that became KATUSAS were the cream of the S Korean society in my mind. Some of my closest friends in Korea were KATUSAS. They are VERY well educated, and resourceful. If you show them the same respect they show to everyone else, they will offer their friendship. I would be more than willing to fight and die next to a KATUSA.

Nuff said.



+1

Kim Kyung Sam was the best KATUSA to ever serve. Hyungnim.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 1:35:46 AM EST
1/2 the men in this room were Katusas...I heard a lot of Katusa stories 97-99.




Link Posted: 9/22/2004 1:53:49 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 1:56:32 AM EST

Originally Posted By 82ndAbn:
And how many friggin' holidays did they have? It seemed like they were always taking off for this or that.



Twice as many as the Frogs....

At least 3 a month, or so it seemed at the time. A couple of them were big time holidays. Its been aong time, but I kinda recall them affecting our schedule?
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 2:10:49 AM EST
The kid with the big smile in the front was a Phd - never had to serve a day in his life. They let him work for the company in R&D instead. Same for the little one all the way to the right in the 2nd pic.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 8:45:00 AM EST
I have heard all these opinions on the KATUSAs while I was in Korea. Some liked them, some disliked them and the program, with most people somewhere in between.

They are human just like us. The ROKAF had many fine people also but was a microcosm of Korean society and reflected that society just as any military does of its own society and culture. Good and bad are not just restricted to one race, creed or color. I'm sure there are/were many KATUSAs who unfairly judged America based on the "ugly Americans" they encountered serving with the US Army.

Our success in the MAGNUM program boiled down to personalities. Not everyone has the patience or understanding to work as closely with a different culture or value set as we sometimes have to. Just look at Iraq if you don't beleive me. It baffles me to think that we can solve the insurgency problem by giving a bunch of out of work Iraqis an 8-week crash course in police skills and expect them to develop the same esprit-de-corps, competence, and discipline that the US military is blessed with. Their cultural foundation is a lot different than ours but I think that sometimes gets forgotten or overlooked.

The Jordanian Army was once of the worlds best trained military forces. But it took British military advisors years or decades to achieve that and not weeks.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:00:45 AM EST
The KASTUSA program was great, a really brilliant idea. KATUSAs were not allways the best soldiers or even the best people but having them around was great. The worst KATUSAs were the ones whos parents had paid their way in so they wouldn't have o serve in the regulars. I me some pretty lazy ones, but still having one there was a benefit.

Our squads KATUSA, Bong Wu Ban, was outstanding. He was a lifer, it seems that if you are going to be a career enlisted in the ROK you have to spend your first 2 years in one of the elites (Bong Wu was a ROK Ranger, top notch unit on any scale) and your second tour as a KATUSA to get used to working with Americans. Another great idea.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:22:11 AM EST
I nearly had to whoop one's ass one night while on CQ duty he proclaimed that "Communism is good".

He was a Grad student from a rich family, the Korean version of a lets say the Kennedy family. Ted's kid perhaps.


Some of them were awesome, good people, hard workers, etc. Othere's were plane fuckin wastes of flesh. Lazy, insubordinate, and a general PITA. It's funny how many dont speak English when you tell them to do something.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:51:24 AM EST


My experiences with them were nothing but good.


Very respectful, hard-working, and good at what they do.

They put up with a lot of shit from the US soldiers.
But ROK marines are the shit. SCARY af F**k.

Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:56:25 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/22/2004 9:58:00 AM EST by FlagWaver]
My father in law was the city manager for Yongsan area, spent his career working for the city government.

My brother in law spent his tour working for supply at Osan for the AIR FORCE. How much string pulling do you think he had to do? I was amazed at how easy he got off.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 11:10:50 AM EST
I was in Korea in 96-97' and knew a couple KATUSA's that were great. They did not whine or bitch, but enjoyed working with Americans. They also knew which clubs were worth going to and which clubs were shitty. They both had loads of cash coming in from their families, so they loved to take GI's out and party.

I also had the oppurtunity to work with 9 Korean civilians at a Tech Control facility in Camp Walker, which is in Taegu. Great guys!!! A couple of the guys had worked for the Army for 30 yrs. They knew there shit, thats for sure. They had all been ROK Marines or ROK Army guys. Everyone of them was top rate.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 2:23:31 PM EST
I was in the Air Force at Kunsan (93-94) and Osan (97-98) and most of the KATUSA's that I dealt with or heard about were very intelligent and well liked. Of course there's always an exception and I seen plenty of US military guys that embarassed me to be an American as well. I'd like to agree about the ROK Marines and Rangers being badasses, I worked Transient Alert and would observe the ROK Rangers in full contact martial arts to pass the time while they were waiting on the C-130 to arrive so they could go up and make a jump.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 2:32:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By Mr_Happyface:

They put up with a lot of shit from the US soldiers.
But ROK marines are the shit. SCARY af F**k.



You must scare easily.
Link Posted: 9/23/2004 1:45:55 PM EST

Originally Posted By Mr_Happyface:

My experiences with them were nothing but good.


Very respectful, hard-working, and good at what they do.

They put up with a lot of shit from the US soldiers.
But ROK marines are the shit. SCARY af F**k.




My ex-father-in-law was a Captain in the ROK marines during the Korean War. He got tasked with helping quell the Koji-do prison riots down by Chinhae. The NKPA would infiltrate political specialists behind our lines and allow them to be captured. Once they were interred at Koji-do, they set up communist resistance cells in the prision camps and started well coordinated and planned riots. After the riots were quelled, his job was to take the perps out to sea where they were "tried" and executed and their bodies dumped off the back of the fantail. Don't know how many they executed but it really messed him up.

He never functioned well after he was discharged from the Marines due to a jeep accident that left him an amputee. He died in poverty in 1983.
Link Posted: 9/23/2004 1:53:58 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:
Korean Augmentation To the United States Army=KATUSA. I was a Signal soldier in a Signal BN, our KATUSAs worked as supply clerks, orderly room clerks, mechanics and armorers, positions that required no security clearance. I am told that in units where security clearances were not required for thier primary mission (MP, Infantry, FA), there were KATUSAs in line positions.

Edited to add: These were Korean soldiers who were assigned to US units and fell under the US chain of command, it was understood that in case of N Korean attack they would remain with us to fight, but never had the feeling that if we were to deploy outside of Korea that they would come. They are also not paid much, as I recall if a KATUSA behaved and the senior KATUSA in the unit felt they deserved it they would recieve about $10 a month, although most of the KATUSAs in my unit seemed to be from wealthy families and always had plenty of money, and spent more than $10 a month on cell phone bills.



We had KATUSAs in the 102nd MI Battalion up on Camp Hovey. They were good troops, and vital in their language translation skills. We had one, though, who said if the NKs came south, he would start shooting US officers. Needless to say, he wasn't around long.
Link Posted: 9/23/2004 2:04:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/23/2004 2:05:40 PM EST by CAM_PIN]
Served in A Co 1/72 AR, Camp Casey. I was an M1A1 tank gunner there and had a KATUSA as my loader. Probably the best loader I've ever had. I'd fight with them anytime.

ETA- "Who ya with? ....FIRST TANK!!!"
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:17:38 AM EST

Originally Posted By CAM_PIN:
Served in A Co 1/72 AR, Camp Casey. I was an M1A1 tank gunner there and had a KATUSA as my loader. Probably the best loader I've ever had. I'd fight with them anytime.

ETA- "Who ya with? ....FIRST TANK!!!"



I all but instigated an all out brawl on hooker hill between first tank and second tank.

Funny thing was....I wasn't in either.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 5:31:32 AM EST
Could we do this with the Iraqi Army and police?

Or does them being Muslim make them incompatable?

And why did we not do this in the Vietnam War with the ARVN troops?
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