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Korean National Police guards eat lunch at the Three Kingdom’s Inn Dining Facility on Monday during a visit to Yongsan Garrison.

Korean National Police guards eat lunch at the Three Kingdom’s Inn Dining Facility on Monday during a visit to Yongsan Garrison. (Kim Sang-wook / U.S. Army)

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — About 120 South Korean riot police who guard U.S. military bases in Seoul were invited inside the gates Monday during an appreciation day.

“We know your job is not an easy one,” Area II commander Col. Ronald Stephens said. “You are out there 24-7, no matter what the weather … you are always on guard, always alert.”

The guards augment base security and often face the full brunt of anti-American sentiment. In recent years, during heated protests, many have been injured providing a wall between their countrymen and the American bases they’ve been tasked with protecting.

During Monday’s visit, they watched a video about the U.S.-South Korean alliance, took a base tour and ate lunch.

Seong Jong-ming, 24, who returned to the peninsula from his studies at the University of Virginia for his 2½ years of mandatory government service, said it was nice to see the installation.

“I am quite pleased to guard the U.S. military base since I’ve always thought it would be really good to have good relationship between Korea and the U.S.,” he said. “It is always better to know what we are working for than … without knowing what we actually do.”


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