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At Camp Humphreys in South Korea last month, U.S. Army officials are joined by Pyongtaek City mayor Song Myong-ho in toasting recipients of Good Neighbor Awards during a dinner in the awardees’ honor. At left is Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr., Area III Support Activity commander; at right is Brig. Gen. Steven M. Anderson, deputy commander, USFK.
At Camp Humphreys in South Korea last month, U.S. Army officials are joined by Pyongtaek City mayor Song Myong-ho in toasting recipients of Good Neighbor Awards during a dinner in the awardees’ honor. At left is Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr., Area III Support Activity commander; at right is Brig. Gen. Steven M. Anderson, deputy commander, USFK. (Roger Edwards / U.S. Army)

PYONGTAEK, South Korea — Officials at Camp Humphreys in South Korea have launched the base’s first Good Neighbor Awards program, one that recognizes Koreans and Americans whose actions promote good relations between the U.S. military and the South Korean public.

The program — one of the latest moves by base officials to foster good relations with South Koreans — will present annual awards in three categories: Korean Good Neighbors, U.S. Good Neighbors, and military units at the base that distinguish themselves through some form of community relations.

“We’ll do this at least once a year,” said Susan Barkley, spokeswoman for the Army’s Area III Support Activity at Camp Humphreys.

Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr., Area III Support Activity commander, added the awards program to the unit’s existing set of community relations initiatives, all of which are part of the U.S. military command’s Good Neighbor Program.

U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Leon J. LaPorte set up the program in 2003. It directs all U.S. military units in South Korea to take proactive measures to win the good will of the Korean public.

Barkley said the awards program is “a way to increase understanding and also acknowledge the effort on everyone’s part.”

Area III’s Good Neighbor Awards program kicked off June 24 with an awards dinner for 19 Koreans and 19 Americans. A unit award went to the 527th Military Intelligence Battalion, cited for “total and unwavering support of community relations programs” that included weekly reading and conversational programs in a public library.

Activities for which awards were made included landscaping or design projects on base; volunteer English-language tutoring in an area high school; volunteer visits to an area orphanage; sponsorship of cultural events; and translation services, among others.

Recipients received an award certificate recognizing their activities.

In remarks at the awards dinner, Taliento said LaPorte’s Good Neighbor Program aims “to continually improve relations between the United States military and the Korean community through increased positive engagement with our neighbors in a host of plans and programs.”

He thanked recipients “for richly supporting the time-honored institutions of friends, neighbors, and allies.”

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