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Kim Gamel

US Forces Korea reports five more coronavirus cases as it eases restrictions

U.S. Forces Korea took a step toward normalcy on Monday, easing coronavirus restrictions and allowing people to go to Seoul for the first time in months.

Army to require coronavirus tests, self-quarantine before overseas travel starting Aug. 21

The new requirements, which apply to personnel traveling on military and commercial flights, may mean that soldiers have to undergo two periods of quarantine if one is also required upon arrival.


Seoul’s 'Central Park' a step closer to reality with opening of Black Hawk Village

South Korea has gained control of a sliver of land on the southeastern tip of the Army’s Yongsan Garrison, nearly two decades after the allies set in motion a plan to relocate the bulk of American troops south of Seoul.


US military coronavirus toll rises in South Korea but overall cases low

Six more Americans affiliated with the military tested positive for the coronavirus after traveling to South Korea, the military said Thursday, raising its total number of confirmed cases to 139.


South Korean support for alliance with US still strong despite cost-sharing row, poll finds

Some 90% of South Korean respondents said they still support the alliance with the United States, which was forged in the 1950-53 Korean War, compared with 92% last year, according to a poll released Monday.


Can you catch the coronavirus on a plane? It’s complicated

The influx of American troops testing positive for the coronavirus after flying to overseas U.S. bases highlights the dangers of air travel during the pandemic.


Two DODEA employees, one service member test positive for coronavirus in South Korea

The confirmed cases raised the total number of USFK-affiliated personnel to have contracted coronavirus since late February to 126.


Deadline looms for DODEA parents to choose between virtual or in-person school

Students in South Korea will each get plastic shields, but buses and classrooms will likely be near pre-coronavirus capacity, officials said Wednesday, outlining new details on the eve of a deadline for parents to choose virtual or in-person school for their children.


Citing mask discomfort, US ambassador to South Korea shaves off controversial mustache

The U.S. ambassador to South Korea has shaved his controversial mustache, saying it made wearing a mask to prevent spreading the coronavirus more uncomfortable in the summer heat.


Armistice anniversary: North Korean leader hands out pistols while UNC reaffirms commitment to peace

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un handed out commemorative pistols, while the U.S.-led United Nations Command reaffirmed its commitment to seeking a “lasting peace” on the Korean Peninsula as the rival nations marked the 67th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.


Number of coronavirus cases linked to US Forces Korea soars to 111 with new arrivals

Eighty-seven service members and dependents have tested positive after traveling to South Korea for new assignments or returning after trips abroad.


Abrams defends coronavirus measures as more troops test positive after arriving in South Korea from US

Gen. Robert Abrams called his command's anti-coronavirus measures “more stringent than just about any other country in the world,” as 10 more people affiliated with the military tested positive after traveling to South Korea from the U.S.


South Korea plays down report that White House is weighing troop cuts

South Korea on Sunday played down a report that the White House is weighing options to reduce the U.S. military presence on peninsula, saying the allies have not discussed the issue.


Number of coronavirus-infected US troops arriving in South Korea mounts

South Korea has expressed concern over the growing numbers, although U.S. Forces Korea insists that mandatory testing and two-week quarantine procedures have helped contain the problem.


US Forces Korea: 11 more troops from US test positive for coronavirus

Eleven more American service members tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in South Korea from the United States, the military said Monday.


‘He’s still out there’: Search for missing US airman continues in South Korea

Staff Sgt. Tristin Blake Jarvis, 26, of the 51st Force Support Squadron, was last seen in the vicinity of the Osan Fitness Center on July 8.


South Korean war hero Gen. Paik Sun-yup dies at 99

He continued to enjoy close relations with the U.S. military, which named him an honorary Eighth Army commander in 2013.


US military searching for missing Osan airman in South Korea

Staff Sgt. Tristin Blake Jarvis was last seen in the vicinity of the Osan Air Base Fitness Center on Wednesday afternoon and was reported absent from his unit as of Thursday.


Camp Humphreys places eight South Korean realty companies off-limits over security issues

The U.S. military’s largest base in South Korea has banned business with eight local real estate companies for 10 years over allegations of using fraudulent passes to access the installation.


Seven US troops test positive for coronavirus after arriving in South Korea

Seven U.S. service members tested positive for the coronavirus after traveling from the United States to South Korea in recent weeks, the military said Wednesday, raising its total number of cases to 54.


North Korea says no to more nuclear talks as US envoy travels to Seoul

North Korea insisted Tuesday that it has “no intention” of resuming dialogue with the U.S.


US troops accused of wreaking havoc at July Fourth beach party in South Korea

The U.S. military expressed regret for “disruptive behavior” after American troops allegedly caused a ruckus with a Fourth of July party in Busan.


South Korea marks 70th anniversary of first US ground battle in Korean War

More than 150 Americans were killed or went missing in the fighting on July 5, 1950, known as the Battle of Osan. But the unit accomplished its mission to help delay the North Korean advance while U.S. reinforcements arrived.


Five USFK personnel test positive for coronavirus after traveling to South Korea from abroad

The five cases reported Saturday have been placed in isolation units in a specially outfitted barracks on Camp Humphreys, according to U.S. Forces Korea.


US military helicopter forced to make 'precautionary landing' at park on base in South Korea

A U.S. military helicopter was forced to make a “precautionary landing” shortly after takeoff from Yongsan Garrison, U.S. Forces Korea said.


Two US troops with coronavirus mistakenly released early from quarantine in South Korea

Two newly assigned U.S. service members who tested positive for coronavirus after arriving at Osan Air Base were prematurely released from quarantine due to an administrative error, the military said.


Osan Air Base confirms coronavirus cases but says health alert level unchanged

The 51st Fighter Wing would not provide the number of people infected or give more details, citing operational security, but said the health alert level for the base was not being raised from HPCON Bravo.


Another US service member tests positive for coronavirus after arriving in South Korea

The announcement raised to 40 the total number of confirmed cases affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea. This includes 13 troops traveling from abroad for new assignments on the Korean peninsula.


US Forces Korea reports three more coronavirus cases from US arrivals

The announcement raised to 39 the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea since late February.


US Forces Korea commander debuts ‘pinks and greens’-inspired uniform at Korean War ceremony

“I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity for it to make its debut and here it is,” Gen. Robert Abrams said Thursday of the new Army uniforms.


US, South Korea urge North to denuclearize on 70th anniversary of war’s start

Gen. Robert Abrams, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea honored the sacrifices of those who died during the Korean War at a ceremony Thursday at his headquarters on Camp Humphreys.


North Korea suspends military action plans against Seoul in move to de-escalate tensions

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un suspended military action plans against the South, state-run media reported, a week after the army threatened to redeploy forces to demilitarized border areas.


KOREAN WAR AT 70

It may be called the 'Forgotten War,' but the Korean conflict set the stage for decades of tensions

The Korean War is often called the “Forgotten War” in the U.S. because the stalemated conflict was overshadowed between World War II and Vietnam, but its legacy looms large over the divided peninsula. In a special report, Stars and Stripes marks the 70th anniversary of the conflict, which began on June 25, 1950.


US airman tests positive for coronavirus upon arrival in South Korea

The report raised to 36 the number of confirmed coronavirus cases affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea, including 12 active-duty service members, since an outbreak began in late February.


US service member tests positive for coronavirus after flying to South Korea

The total number of coronavirus cases affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea now stands at 35 — a quarter of which have been troops traveling to the peninsula from abroad.


ANALYSIS

North Korean military threats target South but also send a message to Trump

The principal target of the North’s ire was South Korea's president, but experts said it also sent a message to the U.S. that the regime is prepared to raise the ante with more provocations amid frustration over the lack of progress in nuclear talks.


North Korea blows up joint liaison office near border with South Korea

North Korea blew up a joint liaison office near the border with South Korea on Tuesday in a sharp escalation of tensions triggered by the dispatch of anti-regime leaflets by activists.


North Korea threatens to re-enter demilitarized border areas amid latest tensions

The North Korean army said it was “keeping a close watch on the current situation in which the north-south relations are turning worse and worse.”


US Forces Korea bans display of Confederate flag in on-base public areas

The order comes as Confederate symbols have become a frequent target for protesters following the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of police.


South Korea on alert following threats from the North two years after first Trump-Kim summit

The defense ministry in Seoul said it was closely monitoring North Korean military moves and maintaining a defensive posture “in preparation for all eventualities.”


GALLERY

‘Eating away at us’: US troops honor George Floyd with candlelight vigil at Camp Humphreys

Gen. Robert Abrams, who commands U.S. Forces Korea, has expressed outrage over the killing and held a town hall-style meeting Sunday after directing subordinate leaders to initiate dialogue with their units.


Two newly arrived US troops test positive for coronavirus amid South Korean outbreaks

Two service members who recently took government-chartered flights to Osan Air Base tested positive for the coronavirus.


North Korea doesn’t answer phone after vowing to cut communication with South

Tensions between North and South Korea have been rising since U.S.-led nuclear talks with the North broke down. Pyongyang also resumed missile tests amid the impasse.


Black troops call for action to fight racism in the military during USFK forum

U.S. military leaders have been unusually outspoken about the need to address institutional racism amid a growing wave of civil unrest over the latest killing of a black man in police custody.


US Forces Korea commander says ‘we should all be outraged’ by George Floyd killing

Gen. Robert Abrams was the latest senior official to speak out publicly the police killing of George Floyd, which has unleashed nationwide unrest and anger that has extended to troops overseas.


‘Unusual senior year’: DODEA students enjoy in-person graduations in South Korea

After months of online classes, seniors at DODEA schools in South Korea graduated together.


US agrees to temporary deal allowing furloughed South Korean employees to return to work

The deal, announced in a press release, will end a more than two-month furlough of U.S. Forces Korea employees but does not resolve a larger dispute over defense cost-sharing between the two longtime allies.


Another US soldier tests positive for coronavirus after arriving in South Korea

The new case, which brings to 32 the number of people affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea who have been found to have the virus, underscores the continuing challenges involved in personnel movements amid the pandemic.


South Korea restores anti-coronavirus measures in Seoul amid new outbreaks

Museums, theaters, parks and other public facilities in the Seoul metropolitan area will close for two weeks starting Friday.


US Forces Korea worker helps thwart apparent suicide attempts on bridge in Seoul

An American who works at Yongsan Garrison sprang into action when he saw two men perched dangerously on barriers lining a bridge.


United Nations Command says it is unable to determine if North Korea accidentally fired in DMZ shooting

A probe into the shooting earlier this month found that both Koreas violated the 1953 armistice agreement, officials said Tuesday.


North Korean leader seeks more nuclear strength in first appearance in three weeks

In his first reported appearance in more than three weeks, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presided over a meeting calling for increased nuclear capabilities and putting the armed forces on “high alert,” state-run media said Sunday.


United Nations Command finds defects on aircraft warning markers near Korean border

The U.S.-led United Nations Command said Friday that it will repair several defects found on warning markers meant to keep aircraft from flying mistakenly into the tense border area that divides the Korean peninsula.


‘New normal’: US troops fill South Korean restaurants after military lifts most virus restrictions

U.S. Forces Korea announced Monday it was lowering its health alert level from Health Protection Condition Charlie to Bravo beginning at 6 a.m. Wednesday for most bases in South Korea.


South Korea to provide 10,000 face masks to help Navajo veterans fight coronavirus

South Korea will provide masks and hand sanitizer to help Navajo veterans of the Korean War fight the coronavirus.


US Forces Korea to lift most anti-coronavirus restrictions for bases except for Seoul area

U.S. Forces Korea said bars, clubs and other adults-only establishments remain off-limits on the peninsula.


Two more US service members recover from the coronavirus in South Korea

Soldier, sailor declared free of the virus this week, leaving just three quarantined at bases in Korea.


Here’s a look inside a US military quarantine center in South Korea

U.S. Forces Korea is preparing for a summertime influx to the peninsula after the ban on military moves is lifted, opening the floodgates for regularly scheduled arrivals and a backlog of service members who have been in PCS limbo.


US Forces Korea to maintain current anti-coronavirus restrictions

Questions about USFK’s status arose after rumors that restrictions might be relaxed over the weekend, but military say no changes are imminent.


South Korea-based soldier with coronavirus keeps positive attitude while in isolation

Army Pfc. Victoria Tolley considers herself fortunate even though she has been largely isolated in a barracks room for six weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus.


Sailor tests positive for coronavirus after arriving in South Korea on a US-government-chartered flight

The new cases underscored the fragility of South Korea’s recovery as it begins to ease anti-coronavirus restrictions after several days with few to none local infections.


US military maintains coronavirus restrictions as South Korea edges toward normalcy

Restaurants and bars are crowded, public transportation is buzzing and students are preparing to return to school as South Korea loosens coronavirus restrictions. But U.S. Forces Korea says not yet for the military community.


UN Command investigating whether DMZ shooting violated Korean War armistice

The U.S.-led United Nations Command sent a team to the tense Korean border area Monday to investigate whether the exchange of fire the day before violated the 1953 armistice agreement.


North and South Korea exchange gunfire across DMZ days after Kim Jong Un reappears

No casualties or damages were reported in the incident, which occurred two days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance in nearly three weeks.


US Forces Korea says 17 of its 26 coronavirus patients have recovered

The military, which counts about 58,000 people among its population in South Korea, has restricted access to bases and banned personnel from non-essential travel and off-base social activities during the pandemic.


South Korean workers fear extended furlough amid cost-sharing standoff with US

The unprecedented furlough of South Koreans working for U.S. Forces Korea — now in its second month — began in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, making it hard to find part-time work to make ends meet.


DODEA gives students on military bases a break on grades due to coronavirus woes

Students on U.S. military bases will get the higher grade from the last two quarters of the school year to help those struggling with home studies and other difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic, the organization that oversees the schools says.


Trump hints that he knows how North Korean leader is doing but won’t say

“I've had a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. If I weren't president, you'd be in war,” Donald Trump said. “I hope he's fine. I do know how he's doing, relatively speaking."


South Korea rebuts rumors about Kim Jong Un’s health, but still no sign of North Korean leader

South Korea is confident that reports suggesting Kim Jong Un is ill are unfounded, a senior official said in one of the firmest rebuttals to a swirl of speculation about why the North Korean leader has made no public appearances in two weeks.


American dependent in South Korea tests positive for coronavirus upon return from US

Only two soldiers in South Korea have tested positive for coronavirus. The other cases included military dependents, contractors and U.S. and South Korean civilian employees.


Mystery deepens over North Korea leader’s whereabouts as health rumors swirl

A train probably belonging to Kim Jong Un was spotted at the North Korean leader’s coastal compound, according to satellite images, but his whereabouts remained unknown, fueling speculation about his health.


More civilians barred from bases in South Korea over coronavirus violations

USKF has stepped up pressure on its 58,000-strong community to comply with restrictions on nonessential travel and off-base social activities aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.


Exclusive: First service member to get coronavirus wasn’t scared until wife, toddler got infected

Army Spc. Deontae Chappel, who was in isolation for 49 days, was “shocked” but not overly worried when he found out he had the respiratory disease in late February.


Three US soldiers from MP battalion punished for sneaking off base against coronavirus restrictions in South Korea

Soldiers were demoted after they went off base and returned to Camp Walker through a hole in the fence, violating coronavirus restrictions, according to the Eighth Army.


USFK levels 2-year ban on civilian violating coronavirus measures in off-base bar

It was the second such action against a civilian in South Korea since Gen. Robert Abrams declared a public health emergency in late March. Several soldiers also have been punished for violating restrictions on non-essential movement off-base.


Service member’s wife tests positive for coronavirus after returning to South Korea from US

The wife of a U.S. service member tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, nearly two weeks after she returned to South Korea from the United States, raising the total number of cases affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea to 25, the command said.