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First Air Force enlisted earn Korea Peace Award

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Rachelle Blake
  • Seventh Air Force Public Affairs

During a recent ROK-U.S. Leaders Peace Forum, the Korean Informational Association honored three Air Force enlisted Religious Affairs Airmen with the 2020 Korean Peace Medal at Camp Humphreys.

The winners were Senior Master Sgt. Oscar Rivera, 607th Air Support Operations Group, Master Sgt. Abner Borrero, 51st Fighter Wing, and Staff Sgt. Shantwiauna Guy, formerly stationed in Korea.

An honor previously reserved for chaplains, the medal was presented to an Army enlisted soldier last year, opening the door for others. This year was the first time Air Force enlisted Airmen were chosen.

The medal is presented to those who served more than a year in Korea and made a significant impact.

“They are recognizing the efforts of the military Chaplain Corps personnel in relation to sustaining the peace effort between North and South Korea,” Rivera said.

For him, wining this award reminds him of the legacy left behind by his late father.

“My father, drafted from Puerto Rico, was Army infantry based at Camp Casey during the Korean War,” Rivera said. “I am thankful to be part of the continuing unification effort.”

This is Rivera’s second tour in Korea. The first time was in the 1990s as an Army Korean linguist stationed at Camp Hovey.

He said he was caught off guard by the win.

“I was not expecting this award and I was surprised to be honored in this way,” Rivera said. “I feel really humbled to receive this because I recognize that the unification effort has been going on for decades and there are many people to thank for the success we have enjoyed up until this point.”

Borrero echoed his sentiment.

“I would like to thank our United States Forces Korea Chaplain Corps leaders for considering me for this award,” he said. “I am truly humbled to be presented such an amazing and meaningful medal by the Korean government. My tenure here at Osan has been about building our alliance with our Korean partners and building peace through caring for both U.S. and ROK Airmen. I pray that our combined alliance efforts one day will result in the unification of North and South Korea.”

The medal, presented to the winners, are made from melting and combining pieces of rusty barbed wire from the Demilitarized Zone, dividing North and South Korea, and empty bullet casings that were used during the Korean war.