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2021 Friendship Day: U.S., R.O.K. unite through comradery, competition

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mya Crosby
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force’s 8th Fighter Wing and the Republic of Korea Air Force’s 38th Fighter Group participated in the fifth annual Friendship Day at Kunsan Air Base, R.O.K., Oct. 29, 2021.

The allies gathered together in honor of their yearly tradition of sharing one another’s cultures, to include food and sports.

“Just because we are two different countries, does not mean we are two completely different people,” said ROKAF Col. Kim Do-Hyoung, 38th FG commander. “Even though we have different cultures, there are things that unify us.”  

Different cultures lead to different spoken languages, but that did not stop the U.S. and R.O.K. service members from enjoying the day, and each other’s company throughout the series of friendly competitions.

“Any chance I can get out of the office and gather around people I don’t know and make friends is always a good time, especially now that I can make Korean friends,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tyler Eissler, 411th Contracting Support Brigade contractor and Friendship Day soccer participant. “The language barrier is there, but we’ll manage.

“Soccer has the same language all around [the world],” Eissler continued. “So we all knew what we were doing out there.”

Soccer was just one of the many sporting activities filling the day. From the 5K-run in the morning, to softball, to dodgeball, to the surprise Dalgona candy game, competition was fierce throughout the installation.

With nearly each sporting event ending in neck-to-neck results between the U.S. and R.O.K. service members, the results culminated to the Wolf Pack taking the win for the third year in a row.

Competition aside, the known motto of the U.S. and R.O.K. alliance – “Katchi Kapshida” or “We Go Together” – continues to hold strong for more than a century of partnership. The Airmen and leaders of Kunsan Air Base, understand what binds the allies together after all this time.

“It’s so fantastic to be out here,” said Col. John "Wolf" Gallemore, 8th Fighter Wing commander, during the Friendship Day closing remarks. “1882 is when our countries started to bond, and here we are 138 years later, and counting."

From the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Korea’s Joseon Dynasty in 1882, to the U.S. and R.O.K. alliance established in 1953, to the Friendship Day of 2021, this partnership lives-on. 

“It goes to show how important our relationship is between our two air forces…what we’re here to do as a team is to basically fight in support of what both our countries hold dear, and that’s freedom,” he continued. “At the end of the day, that is what our countries and our relationship is founded on - freedom.”