U.S. troops in South Korea just trying to go about their business
July 7, 2006
U.S. troops across the Korean peninsula said they were following the news of the North Korean missile launches but it didn’t really affect day-to-day life here.
“I’m not too concerned,” said Staff Sgt. Ricardo Rodriguez, a biomedical equipment technician with the 51st Medical Group at Osan Air Base. “I have the mentality … if it happens, then I’ll worry about it at that time.”
He said he’s not really alarmed that the Taepodong-2 missile, reportedly able to reach the continental United States, was tested.
The long-range missile failed shortly after takeoff, according to Pacific defense officials.
Senior Airman Timothy Robinson, a 607th Combat Communications Squadron communications airman at Camp Humphreys, said reports about the pending tests the past few weeks have been a source of tension for family in California and New York.
But “for me, not too much of a concern,” he said. “That’s kind of why we’re here. So we just gotta be on our toes.”
Soldiers at the 2nd Infantry Division’s Camp Red Cloud echoed the airmen’s comments.
Pvt. Matthew Pruitt, 61st Maintenance Company, said he first heard of the tests at company formation Wednesday morning.
“I’m over here, so I’m definitely concerned about something happening,” Pruitt said. “But I’m glad [the Taepodong-2] didn’t even reach Japan.”
Spc. Nicholas Ehler of 1st Battalion, 39th Field Artillery, cautioned against exuberance over the Taepodong-2 missile’s “failure,” since the point of any weapons testing is often to learn from mistakes and weakness.
In 1998, North Korea’s Taepodong-1 missile alarmed Japan when it flew over Japanese airspace during testing.
Wednesday’s test was more about claiming a piece of the world spotlight in the midst of so many other events, Ehler said.
“They’re using it just to get attention,” he said. “It’s almost like a child throwing a tantrum.”