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Waist-deep in the island hole at Camp Walker Golf Course in Taegu, South Korea, Army Col. James M. "Mike" Joyner films a TV spot with safety tips for Korea's monsoon season. Visible at right, in pond, is Kevin B. Jackson, Joyner's public affairs chief.
Waist-deep in the island hole at Camp Walker Golf Course in Taegu, South Korea, Army Col. James M. "Mike" Joyner films a TV spot with safety tips for Korea's monsoon season. Visible at right, in pond, is Kevin B. Jackson, Joyner's public affairs chief. (Courtesy of U.S. Army)
Waist-deep in the island hole at Camp Walker Golf Course in Taegu, South Korea, Army Col. James M. "Mike" Joyner films a TV spot with safety tips for Korea's monsoon season. Visible at right, in pond, is Kevin B. Jackson, Joyner's public affairs chief.
Waist-deep in the island hole at Camp Walker Golf Course in Taegu, South Korea, Army Col. James M. "Mike" Joyner films a TV spot with safety tips for Korea's monsoon season. Visible at right, in pond, is Kevin B. Jackson, Joyner's public affairs chief. (Courtesy of U.S. Army)
At Camp Walker Golf Course in Taegu, South Korea, Army Col. James M. "Mike" Joyner, left, tapes a TV spot with safety tips for Korea's monsoon season. Joyner is commander of Area IV Support Activity in Taegu. At right, in water, is his public affairs chief, Kevin B. Jackson. Holding umbrella is Willie DeCook, the unit's director of resource management.
At Camp Walker Golf Course in Taegu, South Korea, Army Col. James M. "Mike" Joyner, left, tapes a TV spot with safety tips for Korea's monsoon season. Joyner is commander of Area IV Support Activity in Taegu. At right, in water, is his public affairs chief, Kevin B. Jackson. Holding umbrella is Willie DeCook, the unit's director of resource management. (Courtesy of U.S. Army)

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — As the U.S. Army’s commander in the Taegu region of South Korea, Col. James M. “Mike” Joyner saw firsthand the killer effects of Typhoon Maemi, which killed nearly 100 people and did billions of dollars in damage in September.

It also did $4.5 million in damage to U.S. installations in the region, which the Army calls Area IV.

So Joyner, commander of the Area IV Support Activity at Camp Henry, decided to tape a public service spot for American Forces Network-Korea television. But he didn’t want it to be boring.

He also wanted to one-up his friend Col. Jeffery T. Christiansen, who commands the Area I Support Activity at Camp Red Cloud, Uijongbu. He filmed a monsoon spot for AFN last year. It featured rain.

“But unfortunately,” Joyner said, “he had picked a day that was sunny and you could see sun shining behind him. We have a great friendship and somewhat of a rivalry because we’re both area commanders, and I tried to outdo him this year,” Joyner said Thursday.

Soon Joyner and some of his staff had a plan. It called for a cast of characters from the Taegu military community — fire department, safety office, resource management directorate, public affairs, a TV crew from the AFN-Korea Taegu affiliate.

At the Camp Walker Golf Course’s island hole May 30, around 5 p.m., Joyner — dressed in BDUs and battle gear — waded waist deep into the island hole pond.

Also in the water but off camera was Joyner’s public affairs chief, Kevin B. Jackson, holding a length of fishing line rigged with “lawn debris” of the kind that goes washing down the street in a monsoon: old sneakers, a reflective jogging vest, plastic milk jug, plastic Thermos and a pair of rubber swim fins.

AFN’s Staff Sgt. Rick Lewis had a camera and crew in place.

The fire chief sat atop a pumper and opened the valve. Within moments Joyner was doused with the first of what would be more than 1,200 gallons of water.

“He was just thoroughly drenched,” Jackson said.

Looking into the camera, the mock monsoon waters pummeling his helmet, Joyner said: “Monsoons are powerful and dangerous. They don’t concern themselves with your rank. No matter where you are, you’ll get soaked and exposed to the risks of large volumes of water arriving quickly, possibly with high winds, thunder and lightning.

“Monsoon season in the Republic of Korea is upon us,” Joyner continued, “and if you want to avoid being caught in a downpour and risk putting yourself in harm’s way, I encourage you to take these precautions,” and he provided safety tips.

The spot was expected to air within days.

“He started at about waist- deep,” Jackson said, “and then went up towards his chest and then the spot concludes with the colonel going under just as he’s reaching for a life-preserver.”

At one point Joyner warned about lawn debris, and that’s where Jackson’s fishing line came in.

Back in the studio, AFN added thunder sound effects to the 60-second spot, and film cuts of Typhoon Maemi.

“I got up to my waist,” Joyner said, “and as I made the commercial I got deeper and deeper just to show how water rises, and we kind of ended it with them throwing me a life preserver. … We had a great time doing it and I think it’s kind of a good message at the same time,” he said.

“As much fun as we had making it,” Joyner said, “it still sends a very important message and that’s the reason we didn’t want just a dry message to go out.”

Surviving the season

Monsoon season safety tips from a TV spot that features Army Col. James M. “Mike” Joyner, commander of the Area IV Support Activity at Camp Henry, Taegu, South Korea.

• “First, stay out of high water collection points and away from storm drains. Also, during field training exercises, commanders should ensure troops are not in low-lying areas.”

• “If you see downed power lines, don’t touch them or try to move them. Stay at least 100 feet away from them and immediately call 911. Also, ensure debris is removed from your property.”

• “If the power goes out, promptly turn off all major appliances and be sure to disconnect power cords from outlets.”

• “Stay indoors away from windows with your blinds drawn. If a window breaks due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will protect you from shattering glass.”

• “Also, check the road conditions posted inside the gates at your installation before you consider driving anywhere, or call 738-7623 for an update.”

— Franklin Fisher

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