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U.S. and South Korean soldiers help out at Shin Hyun-soo’s farm in Yangju on Thursday. About 25 U.S. soldiers and 15 South Korean soldiers harvested crops for Shin, whose 13-year-old daughter was killed by a U.S. military vehicle on Highway 56 in 2002.
U.S. and South Korean soldiers help out at Shin Hyun-soo’s farm in Yangju on Thursday. About 25 U.S. soldiers and 15 South Korean soldiers harvested crops for Shin, whose 13-year-old daughter was killed by a U.S. military vehicle on Highway 56 in 2002. (U.S. Army)

CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Four years after a military vehicle killed two South Korean children, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers still are making amends.

About 25 soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division’s G-9 Civil Military Operations section and 15 South Korean soldiers helped harvest the farm on Thursday of Shin Hyun-soo, the father of one of the dead children.

Soldiers arrived at 10 a.m. and harvested eggplant, soybeans and peppers on about 18,000 square feet of farmland.

The family still mourns the loss of their 13-year-old daughter, Shin Hyo-soon, who was killed with Shim Mi-sun by a U.S. Army 60-ton tracked bridge carrier while crossing a country road in Yangju.

And they have welcomed the soldiers’ help each year since the girls died.

The family members “were actually very warm,” Lt. Col. Todd Goehler said. “They greeted all of the soldiers and we had a good lunch with them.”

Shin needed a little extra help this year because he recently fell off a roof, officials said. Shim Mi-sun’s father also came by to greet the soldiers but said he did not need the extra help this year.

On June 13, 2002, then-Sgt. Mark Walker was driving the vehicle along Highway 56 as part of a convoy. According to court-martial testimony, Walker didn’t see the two girls as the vehicle went up a hill and rounded a curve.

After his vehicle commander spotted the girls, Walker tried to brake, but the vehicle’s momentum carried them forward and it struck the girls, according to U.S. military officials’ accounts of the incident.

The deaths prompted an outpouring of grief throughout South Korea. It also unleashed violent protests against the U.S. military on the peninsula.

When Walker and the vehicle commander, Sgt. Fernando Nino, were found not guilty by a military court, protests erupted again.

Army officials make annual trips to the site of the incident to pay their respects. The families also have received gifts from successive 2nd ID commanding generals.

“Since the accident in 2002, I’ve visited them … keeping in touch with the families very often,” said Kim Chong-uk, 2nd ID community relations officer.

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