All he has to do is follow rules
Periodically, the author of “Feeling forgotten in S. Korea” (letter, Sept. 20) attempts to remind us all how he and hundreds (?) of other contractors were so badly mistreated, and lost their jobs due to the application of a U.S. Forces Korea regulation that finally put some teeth into the “ordinary U.S. resident” provision of the U.S.-South Korea status of forces agreement (SOFA).
Since the great contractor “purge” of 2008–09, this topic has long since become a non-story. But the author desperately tries to maintain interest in the subject by periodically submitting his lost contractor status woe-is-me tales and grievances to this newspaper — apparently to ensure we will never forget not only his personal continuing plight but also that of his former contractor brethren who lost their jobs.
As an administrative officer who is charged with processing contractor employment applications, I witnessed the denial of continued SOFA status for approximately 15 contractors who supported my organization in mid-2009. I have also witnessed four of those same contractors return to support my organization and be granted full and complete SOFA status and entitlements. How did they do it? They did it by doing the “right thing.” They returned to the U.S. to live and work, in order re-establish their “ordinary” U.S. residence.
In the meantime, after nearly two years, the author continues to submit periodic letters to Stars and Stripes using the same location: Songtan, South Korea. This tells me he still hasn’t done the “right thing.”
May I suggest that the author do the right thing as well? In the end, it would benefit us all. With newly granted SOFA status, it’s likely we would no longer have to read his occasional rehash of a policy that no longer requires anyone’s serious attention or consideration.
U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan, South Korea