Go to contents

Housekeeping solder and batman

Posted August. 03, 2017 07:27,   

Updated August. 03, 2017 08:32


A batman is a soldier who was assigned to an officer during the war. A batman was in charge of taking care of a bathorse saddled with an officer’s package. For example, a British commissioned officer used to have soldier servants assigned to him until the First World War. J.R.R. Tolkien tapped into his experiences in the military and borrowed the relationship between an officer and his soldier servant while writing the Lord of the Rings. In his book, Sam calls Frodo master. After being referenced as a soldier servant, it changed to a new term batman during the interwar years as soldier servant sounded out of date.

A batman’s duties include conveying instructions from an officer to subordinates, maintaining an officer’s uniform and equipment as serviceable and taking care of miscellaneous works that an officer does not have time to manage. In Britain, a batman is exempted from more strenuous tasks, is more likely to receive incentives from the leadership and gets promoted sooner than other solders. It thus is a preferred position in the military. In Korea, a batman is not officially included in the military organizational structure system. In general, a radioman and a soldier driver assigned to a commander serve as a batman in a battalion or larger unit. 

In contrast to a batman, a housekeeping soldier is officially allowed in Korea with an approval by a minister or higher-ranking personnel. Housekeeping solders stay at the commander’s quarters and take care of housekeeping chores in a regiment or larger unit. On the back of occasional news stories about housekeeping soldiers serving as tutors for the commander’s children, they have got into trouble sometimes. Still, a housekeeping solder is a popular position because they are more likely to be exempted from intense military trainings or extra duties. In contrast to Korea, most of the advanced countries hire background-checked private contractors to assist commanders. If enlisted soldiers in Korea receive a higher salary equivalent to a salary given to volunteered solders, housekeeping soldiers would have been replaced with private workers already.

Gen. Park Chan-ju, chief of Second Operational Command, submitted his resignation on Tuesday to be responsible for allegations over his bossy treatment of his housekeeping soldiers. It has been reported that the Parks inhumanely treated housekeeping soldiers by making them wear electronic bracelets that are connected to two call bells in his house to summon them immediately whenever Park or his wife needed their assistance. Defense Minister Song Young-moo said he would come up with a new measure to replace them with private workers. It is a proper decision to remove housekeeping soldiers. On the negative side, hiring private contractors would require more fund to weigh on the budget.