Picture of the Day: ROK Army Conducts First Ever Hellfire Missile Live Fire

Army conducts 1st live-fire drill with Hellfire missiles

In this photo released by the Army, an Apache attack helicopter launches a Hellfire air-to-surface missile toward the Jik Islet bombing range off Gunsan on South Korea’s western coast on Nov. 13, as the South Korean Army carries out its first live-fire exercise involving the firing of Hellfire air-to-surface missiles in a bid to beef up its capability to fight in the air. (Yonhap)

ROK Army Soldier Dead After Commander Allegedly Walks Platoon Across Live Firing Range

This sounds like a complete amateur hour if the accusation is true:

A Korean soldier stationed in the inter-Korean border county of Cheorwon, in Gangwon Province, died of a mysterious gunshot to his head on Tuesday, the latest in a series of fatal incidents there.

The victim, 22, whose name was not released, was returning to his platoon with about 20 soldiers and their commander after working when the bullet hit him. Who fired the bullet and where it came from are unknown.

The incident occurred about 4:10 p.m. The soldier was taken to hospital but died at 5:20 p.m.

The bullet most likely came from a military shooting range within 400 meters of the incident site, media reports said.

But a netizen who claimed to be a family member of the victim said the commander was responsible for the death. The family member, who was with the victim’s body at the Armed Forces Medical Command in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, said the platoon commander led the solders “right across the shooting range while shooting practice was in progress.”  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link on how the ROK Army has had a series of unusual shooting deaths.

K-9 Thunder Training Accident Leads to Death of 1 ROK Soldier, 6 More Injured

Here is news of a tragic training accident that occurred up in Choerwon:

One Army soldier was killed and six others were injured Friday in an explosion during an artillery firing drill, the military said.

The blast occurred on the shooting range of a front-line Army unit in Cheorwon, some 88 kilometers north of Seoul, at 3:19 p.m., according to an Army officer.

Seven servicemen were rushed to a hospital and one of them, a 27-year-old sergeant first class, died during the transport, the officer said.

“An unidentified explosion took place during the drill, injuring some people,” he said. A probe into the cause of the incident is underway, he added.

Flames erupted from inside one of the 10 K-9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers during the training session, injuring the seven soldiers attending it, according to the officer.  [Yonhap]

ROK General Faces Investigation for Using Soldiers as “Slaves”

So far these are all just allegations, but it seems like the knives are out to make General Park an example of due to the current public backlash against him.  I guess we will see what happens:

Gen. Park Chan-ju (L), commanding general of the Army’s 2nd Operational Command, speaks to reporters at the Defense Ministry in Seoul on Aug. 8, 2017, ahead of an interrogation by military prosecutors over allegations he and his wife have violated the human rights of soldiers assigned to serve at his official residence. (Yonhap)

A four-star South Korean general and his wife have been accused of treating soldiers like “slaves,” prompting calls for measures to improve conditions for the nation’s conscripts.

Soldiers serving at Gen. Park Chan-ju’s official residence were ordered to remain on-call around the clock and wear electronic bracelets that vibrated whenever family members called on them, the defense ministry said.

They also had to pick up golf balls, take care of gardening, do laundry and chauffeur the couple’s children in a private car, the ministry said, adding it is still investigating other allegations.

Park’s wife also has been accused of treating the soldiers as though she was their commander and subjecting them to verbal and physical abuse.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

ROK Army Faces Accusations that Bullying is Leading to Soldier Suicides

I don’t know the details for each case so maybe it is bullying, but I have to wonder how much of this bullying is actually strict military discipline being put on mandatory service draftees that are not used to such discipline?:

Army sergeant, who went on a shooting rampage at a base in Goseong, Gangwon Province, leaving military court after his first hearing on Sept. 18, 2014. / Yonhap

The recent suicide of a conscript in 22 Infantry Division has again put the spotlight on the division’s cycle of suicides because of alleged bullying.

The private first class jumped to his death on July 19 during a visit to the Armed Forces Capital Hospital.

In a suicide note, he said that every moment of his life had been agony. He apologized to his mother for his actions.

There has been a public outcry since Military Human Rights Korea (MHRK) claimed that the infantry division knew about the bullying, but did little to stop the soldier from killing himself.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: Searching for Mines Along Imjim River

Search for mines from N. Korea

Army soldiers use landmine detectors to search bushes along the Imjin River that runs across the inter-Korean border in the South Korean border town of Paju on July 20, 2017, for wood-box landmines that may have floated down from North Korea. The box mines are frequently found near the inter-Korean border area after summer floods cause them to wash down from North Korea. (Yonhap)