U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Leon J. LaPorte addresses military police Friday at Collier Field House.

U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Leon J. LaPorte addresses military police Friday at Collier Field House. (Jeremy Kirk / S&S)

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Lt. Gen. Charles Campbell, the 8th Army commander, gave a “thumbs up” to military police gathered in Collier Field House on Friday after seeing photos of their security detail for the recent defense secretary visit.

Gen. Leon J. LaPorte, U.S. Forces Korea commander, individually recognized many for their security work when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited South Korea last month. They met with South Korean defense officials for the Security Consultative Meeting.

Allowing Rumsfeld and Myers to move freely throughout the country during their visit “is a significant undertaking,” LaPorte said. “I would tell you Secretary Rumsfeld and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs were very impressed with your duties.”

It wasn’t a simple task escorting Rumsfeld to South Korea’s national cemetery in Seoul before dropping by the Blue House, the country’s presidential estate, the same day, LaPorte said. Troops also made sure Myers had a calm weekend at the Dragon Hill Lodge without interruption.

About 300 MPs worked the defense secretary’s visit, tracking the different itineraries and securing roads, said Lt. Col. Peter Champagne, commander of the 8th MP Brigade, a 2,000-soldier unit.

Security was the top priority of LaPorte. At one time, Champagne said, Myers was departing the Dragon Hill and Rumsfeld the Shilla, with both ending up on a major road near Itaewon.

“Our guys did a tremendous job with traffic control,” Champagne said. “There was not one incident.”

1st Lt. Erinn Singman, 3rd platoon leader with the 55th MP Company, led more than 50 soldiers at Yongsan Garrison to help block off roads dignitaries were using. She received a joint service commendation medal from LaPorte.

“I’m surprised,” she said. “I feel very honored, but I could not have done it without my NCOs. They were poised, professional and confident.”

Those who also received the joint service achievement medal were Lt. Col. Scott Jones, Capt. Beth Hurlburt, Capt. Randolph Morgan, Master Sgt. Daryl Stapper, Sgt. 1st Class David Shipp, Sgt. Charles Robinson, Sgt. 1st Class John Smith Jr. and Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Knights. Lt. Col. Brad McRee received the joint service commendation medal.

Awarded a commander certificate and coin were Maj. Ki Chan-bae, Capt. Joseph Elsner, Capt. Joseph Peterson, Pfc. Alex Licea, Sgt. 1st Class Peter Klenn, Staff Sgt. Dustin Yi, Sgt. Scott Breuker, Sgt. Darek Kochman, Sgt. Park Seung-hyun, Pfc. Julie Kim, Pfc. Christopher Nelson and Pfc. Song Dae-ho.

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