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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Dozens of 8th Army soldiers will be honored tonight for their roles in local volunteer education programs, officials said Friday.

The United Service Organizations hosts its annual Virtues Development Program awards ceremony, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Dragon Hill Lodge’s Naija Ballroom. Awards will be presented to both American and South Korean soldiers assigned to U.S. Army units in South Korea.

The program, which debuted in spring 2003, is part of the Good Neighbor Program launched by U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Leon J. LaPorte; that program aims to ease tension and suspicion sometimes felt between South Koreans and American servicemembers.

“The USO Virtues Development Program places U.S. servicemembers, paired with [Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army], into Korean elementary schools to teach English every Saturday,” said Rita Ehrman, a USO representative. “In Area II and III, five Korean elementary schools and a Korean library are taking part in this program."

Nearly 100 servicemembers teach more than 3,000 South Korean students a week in the program, Ehrman said.

Each soldier will be presented with a certificate at the dinner, with the commanders also receiving special recognition on behalf of their units.

More than 50 administrators and teachers, along with 15 students from the various South Korean schools, will also be on hand at the dinner, Ehrman said.

Eighth Army commander Lt. Gen. Charles Campbell and 8th Army Command Sgt. Major Troy Welch are among the guests, officials said.

Among the units to be honored

• 17th Aviation Brigade, with 14 volunteers at Itaewon Elementary School.• 18th Medical Command, with 18 volunteers at Samsung Elementary School.• 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Brigade, with 22 volunteers at the Daemo Elementary School.• 498th Corps Support Battalion, with 10 volunteers at Hannom Elementary School.• 41st Signal Brigade, with 10 volunteers at Gusang Elementary School.• 527th Military Intelligence Battalion, with six volunteers at Pyongtaek Library.


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