Peace Time: South Koreas Secret Revealed


March 26, 2007: Responding to economic trends of the last few decades, U.S. military commanders in South Korea are recommending that South Korea no longer be considered a "hardship tour." Since the 1950s, troops sent to Europe stayed there for up to three years, and could bring their families with them. In other words, duty in Europe was treated like a transfer from one base in the United States, to another.

But South Korea was considered too poor and alien for military families. The rough living conditions were considered so onerous that troops should only have to endure them for 12 months at a time. But South Korea has not been rough duty for over two decades. For example, currently there are over 2,000 military families in South Korea, having come on their own, without any assistance from the military. However, these families do not have access to any military facilities, like cheaper stores (post exchanges) on bases. The proposed policy would treat service in South Korea the same way it has always been in Europe. That would mean three year tours and no hardship pay. South Korea is now more prosperous than most of Europe was in the 1960s. Many South Koreans speak English, South Korean students are generally anti-American, the beer is pretty good and the hookers are expensive. Not much different from Europe. By bringing more families over, and keeping troops there for three years, the higher transportation costs for the one year tours would be lowered, and the troops would get to know Korea, and Koreans, better.




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