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USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

Members of U.S. Forces Korea enter the Eulji Observation Deck during a Korean cultural program tour at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Yanggu, Republic of Korea, May 15, 2019. The Ministry of National Defense funds and offers this program to USFK members five times a year to increase cultural awareness and strengthen community ties with service members and local residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

Members of U.S. Forces Korea are briefed on what they can view from the Eulji Observation Deck during a Korean cultural program tour at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Yanggu, Republic of Korea, May 15, 2019. From this observation deck, visitors can see multiple peaks of the Geumgangsan Mountains, which are on the other side of the DMZ in North Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

U.S. Army Pfc. Brian Sula looks toward the North Korean border from the Eulji Observation Deck at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Yanggu, Republic of Korea, May 15, 2019. The DMZ serves as a buffer zone on the boarder of North and South Korea. Sula is a combat medic assigned to the 121st Combat Support Hospital. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

Republic of Korea Army Brig. Gen. Moon Won Sik, commander of the Korean Combat Training Center (KCTC), introduces himself to U.S. Forces Korea members in Gwangwon In-Je, ROK, May 15, 2019. USFK members visited the center as part of program offered by the Korean Ministry of Defense to strengthen ties between U.S. service members and the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

Members of U.S. Forces Korea receive a mission brief on the Korean Combat Training Center in Gwangwon In-Je, Republic of Korea, May 15, 2019. The KCTC’s mission is to train and evaluate forces using its own 15-stage battlefield simulation system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Odency Johnson fires a multiple integrated laser engagement system (MILES) rifle at the Korean Combat Training Center in Gwangwon In-Je, Republic of Korea, May 15, 2019. The MILES uses lasers and blank cartridges along with corresponding sensors on individuals, vehicles and assets to simulate actual battle damage and casualties. Johnson, a native of Washington D.C., is assigned to the 607th Air Communications Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

A Republic of Korea Army soldier fires a multiple integrated laser engagement system (MILES) rocket launcher at the Korean Combat Training Center in Gwangwon In-Je, ROK, May 15, 2019. The MILES uses lasers and blank cartridges along with corresponding sensors on individuals, vehicles and assets to simulate actual battle damage and casualties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

A U.S. soldier looks for ripened strawberries to pick during a Korean cultural program tour in Yanggu, Republic of Korea, May 15, 2019. The Ministry of National Defense funds and offers this program to U.S. Forces Korea members five times a year to increase cultural awareness and strengthen community ties with service members and local residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Yolizma Blanco picks strawberries during a Korean cultural program tour in Yanggu, Republic of Korea, May 15, 2019. The Ministry of National Defense funds and offers this program to U.S. Forces Korea members five times a year to increase cultural awareness and strengthen community ties with service members and local residents. Blanco, a native of Houston, Texas, is a personnel security supervisor assigned to the 7th Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience
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Members of U.S. Forces Korea attempt to catch trout during a Korean cultural program tour in Yang Pyeong, Republic of Korea, May 16, 2019. The Ministry of National Defense funds and offers this program to USFK members five times a year to increase cultural awareness and strengthen community ties with service members and local residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience
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A fresh water trout swims through a river in Yang Pyeong, Republic of Korea, May 16, 2019. Members of U.S. Forces Korea fished for trout during a cultural awareness trip provided by the Korean Ministry of Defense. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience
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Mallets sit on top of a wooden platform before being used to prepare tteok, or rice cakes, at Yang Pyeong, Republic of Korea, May 16, 2019. Tteok is a traditional dessert and delicacy made by pounding glutinous rice and coating it with bean powder. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience
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U.S. Forces Korea members pound rice to make tteok, or rice cakes, during a Korean cultural program tour in Yang Pyeong, Republic of Korea, May 16, 2019. Tteok is a traditional dessert and delicacy made by pounding glutinous rice and coating it with bean powder. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

USFK members receive Korean cultural experience
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A Korean farmer cuts prepared tteok, or rice cakes, for U.S. Forces Korea members during a Korean cultural program tour in Yang Pyeong, Republic of Korea, May 16, 2019. Tteok is a traditional dessert and delicacy made by pounding glutinous rice and coating it with bean powder. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ramon A. Adelan)

REPUBLIC OF KOREA --

Coming to a new country can be intimidating. Everything is unfamiliar, and you want to find ways to immerse yourself within the culture.

Here in the Republic of Korea, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) provides the opportunity for service members from the U.S. Forces Korea to go on a three-day cultural awareness trip. This program happens five times a year to strengthen community ties and give members a better view of Korean culture.

“We hope this program is helpful for [participants] to understand and experience Korean culture,” said Lee Kyun, Ministry of Defense program director. “Every year we plan these trips to better relationships between Americans and Koreans.”

Approximately 50 members attended the program in May and experienced the mountainous area of Peyong Chang, the iconic boarder of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the exceptional training program of the Korean Combat Training Center (KCTC), and the agricultural hillsides of Yanggu and Yang Pyeong.

“We were able to work, learn and interact with our Korean counterparts, which implemented what our mission here is, and that is to work together with the Korean Military to keep South Korea at peace,” said Staff Sgt. Hallie Hewitt, 607th Air Support Operations Group command support staff noncommissioned officer in charge.

For the three days, members spent morning, noon and night learning Korean phrases, traditions and viewed Korean life outside of the city area.

“We were able to go to the countryside, away from the base and Seoul, and see the beauty Korea had to offer,” Hewitt said.

This program has been offered to USFK members by the MND for decades, which they have inevitably continued to educate those on Korean culture.

Lee said, he believes the partnership between Americans and Koreans is important to both parties in the mission to maintain the peninsulas safety.