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Kim Gamel

‘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.


Contractor banned from bases in South Korea for violating quarantine by shopping at PX and commissary

U.S. Forces Korea said a contractor has been banned from all U.S. bases in South Korea for two years for visiting base shopping facilities. It was the first such action against a civilian.


First US service member to contract coronavirus has recovered in South Korea, military says

The first U.S. service member to test positive for coronavirus has recovered and been released after 49 days in isolation in South Korea, the military said Thursday.


Camp Humphreys to reopen gyms, barber shops as coronavirus slows in South Korea

U.S. service members have been largely holed up in barracks or off-base residences for about three weeks after a soldier and several American contractors at Camp Humphreys tested positive for the respiratory virus.


Two people linked to US Forces Korea test positive for coronavirus after quarantine

A pair of cases mark a new phase in the military’s efforts to contain the virus as people who were quarantined due to close contact with other patients must be tested before being allowed to leave.


North Korea fires missiles on eve of late founder’s birthday, South Korean vote

North Korean fighter jets fired missiles into the sea off the country’s eastern coast while units launched a salvo of cruise missiles from the ground on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said.


US Forces Korea contractor tests positive for coronavirus after weeks in quarantine

It was the 22nd case affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea since the pandemic took hold in South Korea in late February.


No new coronavirus cases reported in South Korean city where outbreak began

No new coronavirus cases were reported in Daegu for the first time since South Korea’s outbreak began there in February.


Volunteers at US Army base in South Korea churn out hundreds of cloth masks for their community

Volunteers, including civilians, military spouses and even some soldiers, set up a mask assembly line operation at the arts and crafts center on Camp Humphreys.


With Camp Casey infection, coronavirus spreads to nearly every major U.S. base in South Korea

USFK has seen an increase in confirmed cases in recent days, most at Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base south of Seoul.


South Korean city in talks with military to test US civilian base workers for coronavirus

Officials in Pyeongtaek, about 40 miles south of Seoul, have been alarmed by the rapid increase in the number of infections linked to Camp Humphreys and the nearby Osan Air Base.


US military uses South Korean labs for coronavirus tests on troops stationed elsewhere

Struggling with its own cases, the U.S. military said Monday that it has used South Korean civilian laboratories to conduct coronavirus tests on samples from American troops stationed elsewhere.


Smell test: US Army garrison in South Korea tries new way to sniff out coronavirus

People trying to enter U.S. installations in the southeastern city were being randomly asked if they can smell apple vinegar as part of the health screening process.


South Korean police accidentally shot US military retiree, officials say

South Korean police shot an American military retiree near his home outside Osan Air Base, shattering his jaw in what officers said was an accident involving a “fierce dog.”


US, South Korea fail to seal defense cost-sharing deal, officials say

The United States and South Korea failed to reach a defense cost-sharing deal this week but will keep trying, officials said after thousands of South Korean employees at U.S. military bases went on unpaid leave because funds ran out.


‘We consider them family’: US military furloughs thousands of South Korean employees in blow to alliance

Negotiators have been deadlocked over the United States’ demand that South Korea sharply increase its contribution to offset the costs of stationing some 28,500 service members on the divided peninsula.


American contractor is latest to test positive for coronavirus on Camp Humphreys

The contractor was the fifth confirmed infection on Camp Humphreys in just over a week, and the 14th overall for U.S. Forces Korea, prompting the Army garrison to extend a partial lockdown for an indefinite period.


Foul play ‘not completely ruled out’ in deaths of two US soldiers in South Korea

Pfc. Marissa Jo Gloria and Spc. Clay Welch died in their barracks rooms on Camp Humphreys over two consecutive days earlier this month.


US-South Korea close to deal, negotiator says, on eve of USFK furloughs

U.S. Forces Korea was able to keep about 4,500 South Korean employees determined to be essential. But the others will be furloughed beginning Wednesday


North Korea test-fires rocket launchers, then lashes out at Pompeo

North Korea warned it has lost interest in nuclear talks with the United States on Monday, a day after the communist state test-fired what it called “super-large” multiple rocket launchers.


Already on partial lockdown, Camp Humphreys hit with fifth coronavirus case

Another American contractor working at Camp Humphreys tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, the fifth confirmed case at the largest U.S. base in South Korea, officials said.


North Korea fires two short-range missiles in latest weapons test, South says

The missiles were launched within a 20-second interval from the eastern city of Wonsan and flew more than 140 miles.


Coronavirus threat ‘shifted balance’ in military readiness, top US commander in South Korea says

Gen. Robert Abrams stressed that even with the new cases, the U.S. Forces Korea number of confirmed coronavirus infection remains relatively low considering the community comprises about 58,000 people.


Coronavirus hits US military in South Korea at its core with three new cases at Camp Humphreys

New infections, including two reported Friday, brought the total number of cases affiliated with U.S. Forces Korea to 12, raising concern about complacency as the overall number of infections in South Korea has slowed.


US military issues final furlough notices to nearly half its South Korean workforce, union says

The U.S. military will put nearly half its South Korean workforce on unpaid leave starting next week after the two countries failed to reach a new defense cost-sharing deal, the local union said Wednesday as final furlough notices went out.


South Korea says Trump asked for coronavirus testing kits, offers to send what it can

South Korea’s president said Donald Trump asked South Korea for help with coronavirus testing kits and other equipment, and officials offered to send what they could as the United States struggles to cope with the pandemic.


American soldier found dead in South Korea, the second in two days

Spc. Clay Welch, 20, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., was found unresponsive in his barracks at Camp Humphreys on Sunday and pronounced dead at the scene, according to Army officials.


American soldier found dead in barracks in South Korea; military rules out coronavirus

A combat engineer with the 2nd Infantry Division sustainment brigade was found dead in her barracks at Camp Humphreys, the military said Tuesday.


US military contractor infected with coronavirus in South Korea in 10th USFK case, prompting new restrictions

The contractor last visited Camp Humphreys on Friday and is in isolation at his off-base residence as directed by the Korea Centers for Disease Control.


Day after missile test, North says Trump sent letter offering coronavirus aid

President Donald Trump explained his plan to improve relations between the two countries, Kim Yo Jong said, without elaborating, in a statement on the state-run Korean Central News Agency.


North Korea test-fires missiles into sea off eastern coast, Seoul says

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also guided an artillery fire competition between large combined army units “on the western front” on Friday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported.


US military base schools in South Korea will tentatively reopen April 13 amid coronavirus crisis

The DODEA eight schools on Camp Humphreys, Army Garrison Daegu and Osan Air Base closed and began online classes in late February to avoid close contact for students and staff.


ANALYSIS

US military ramps up coronavirus testing after weeks of relying on South Korea

USFK initially had to outsource patients and coronavirus tests to an overwhelmed South Korean health system. Now the U.S. military is using its own lab at the new hospital on Camp Humphreys, allowing it to ramp up testing.


Camp Humphreys commander warns against complacency amid decline in South Korean coronavirus cases

Pedestrian gates on the largest U.S. military base in South Korea will be closed for entry overnight to prevent people from violating a ban on outside social activities.


US, South Korea seek to break cost-sharing deadlock with furlough imminent

Talks to hammer out a defense cost-sharing agreement will resume this week as thousands of South Korean workers face an imminent furlough.


South Korea, USFK report good news on coronavirus front but warn the threat remains

South Korea’s daily coronavirus count dropped to double digits for the first time since the outbreak began nearly a month ago, officials said Sunday.


Some military moves resume to and from South Korea as exceptions granted

Dozens of service members and loved ones arrived in South Korea, while others boarded a flight out this weekend as the Army granted exceptions to an order halting moves to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.


USFK says Burger King worker is its ninth coronavirus case as South Korean numbers show signs of slowing

U.S. Forces Korea said the woman, who worked at Camp Walker, has isolated herself at her off-base residence in Daegu.


More than 2,400 soldiers, family members ‘in limbo’ after Army halts moves from South Korea, Italy

The sudden decision to halt movement to and from the two countries has sparked major confusion as military officials scrambled to work out the details. The military has struggled to balance the need to protect its forces from the deadly coronavirus with the need to maintain fighting capabilities.


North Korea leader praises ‘perfect combat readiness’ after long-range artillery drill

The South Korean military said the North fired three projectiles that flew up to 125 miles before splashing into the sea off its eastern coast on Monday. It was the second such test in a week.


South Korean worker linked to US military in Daegu tests positive for coronavirus, lies to get on base

The man, who was a contracted construction worker on Camp Walker, was the eighth confirmed case linked to U.S. Forces Korea, the command said in a press release.


North Korea fires projectiles into the sea for second week in a row

The launches were a fiery reminder that the North still poses a threat as nuclear talks with the United States have been deadlocked for more than a year.


US military halts moves to new assignments for troops in South Korea, Italy over coronavirus fears

Both U.S. allies are in the midst of major outbreaks of the virus, with more than 7,300 confirmed cases in South Korea and nearly 6,000 in Italy.


Analysis

Virus outbreak tests US military readiness in South Korea

The rapidly spreading new coronavirus has put the U.S. military on defense against a new enemy in South Korea as it struggles to keep troops ready to fight the old one.


South Korean worker at Camp Humphreys infected with new coronavirus, raising USFK total to seven

The employee lives in Cheonan, south of the main U.S. military base, Camp Humphreys. That makes her the first USFK-linked patient outside of the southeastern area of Daegu.


Number of US Forces Korea-related coronavirus infections rises to six

After two more U.S. military dependents tested positive for COVID-19, the Army commander in the epicenter of South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak pleaded with his community on Thursday to help maintain the “bubble” protecting the garrison.