U.S. soldiers honored for March rescue of S. Korean man
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Kim Soung-ho is a retired high school teacher who loves to study old war forts.
Last March, his passion for the subject took him exploring on Mount Bojang in the northern part of South Korea, where his beat-up sport utility vehicle became stuck in the snow, according to his daughter.
Attempts to call for help on his cell phone proved useless. He faced the prospect of spending the night in the car until four U.S. and two South Korean soldiers happened by. Using their hands as shovels, they dug out the SUV and hitched it to their Humvee, according to 8th U.S. Army public affairs officials.
This week, Kim’s family and Maj. Gen. George A. Higgins honored the soldiers’ rescue efforts. Kim paid for plaques that were presented to the soldiers and even offered to take them to dinner if possible, according to his daughter, Kim Joo-hee.
“He might have perished there,” said Higgins, the 2nd Infantry Division commander, during Wednesday’s ceremony. “We are all fortunate.”
Kim said he was most impressed with Sgt. Neil A. Settle, who used his bare hands to dig through the snow.
“We saw he was stuck so we stopped,” said Settle. “There were two hikers trying to help but they left when we began to help. There was no one around. We couldn’t leave him so we made adjustments to help him out.”
The soldiers pulled out the truck and then made sure Kim got down the mountain safely.
The U.S. soldiers honored were: Settle, Capt. Thomas Escola, Spc. Andrew Cavazos and Pfc. Joseph Green. The two South Korean soldiers were Sgt. Kim Hae-kyun and Sgt. Yoo Seung-ju.
“As his daughter, I am deeply grateful to your men,” Kim Joo-hee, a doctor in Seattle, wrote in a letter to Army officials in May. “He was truly impressed with their enthusiasm and good heart.”