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[Opinion] University Students’ Zeal for Marine Corps.

Posted October. 05, 2003 00:04,   


On June 25th, 1950, the Chinese Army swept away the Korean army, and the leading troops arrived at Jindong-ri hill near Masan, Southern Kyongnam Province in early August. After the hill, there would be the flat land of Kimhae Pyong-ya all the way to Pusan. The situation was right on the verge of the collapsing of South Chosun. All of sudden, the Chinese patrol troops, who were penetrating the road ahead to the hill, were crushed by a small group of soldiers from the Korean Army. It was a small scale combat, but the Korean Army, being defeated in every battle before then, celebrated their first victory in a long time and gained valuable time to reestablish the defensive line around the Nakdong River. Since then, we have called them “Ghost-catching Marine Corps.”

Following this was their participation at the Incheon Landing Operation in which they hung the Korean national flag at the Capitol Building on the September 18th reclamation of Seoul. Since then, the Marine Corps has fought many victorious battles and also earned a great fear from the enemy as well as the love from the people. In the 1960s, they were deployed to the Vietnam War, and many young soldiers died in the Indochine Jungles. Even today, the North Korean Army, fearing the Korean Marine Corps’ great mobility, has stationed almost ten times the number of its Korean counterpart along the coast.

Judging from the popularity of the movie called “Marines without Return” in the 1960s, the Marine Corps has been well acclaimed by the people. Since the military dictatorship, however, they have been faced with trials. The Marine Corps, with its peculiar commanding system, was a burden to the dictatorship and was forced to be reenlisted to the Navy. Sometime after then, it was popular to call them “Gaebyung-dae” (dog Marines) or “Haebyungdae Gonjo” (bad-tempered Marines). The people’s attention decreased and the Marines’ high spirit with their red name plate also fell to the ground. Surprisingly however, the popularity of the Marine Corps among the university students has been soaring to the sky recently. One has to go through fierce competitions to be a private, not to mention the competition to be an officer in the Marine Corps. Some even wait for a few years to become one.

It is a rare case that the Marine Corps is filled with highly educated people such as in Korea. It’s not even to the young people of today. Many parents with immature children send them to the Marine camps, and many corporations send their employees, too. The reason for these zealots is simple. They say, “If I had to do the military service, I’ll do it passionately in the best branch of the best military,” “I heard that people become more confident and change after military service with the Marine Corps,” and many others. Among all the ‘sons of a God’ who try their best to avoid the military service and many young people who are confused with the ideologies, these people are a truly refreshing change to our society. Even though there might be some people who desert the responsibility of their motherland and are confused with different ideologies, we still have the other kind of wild young people with sound mentality towards the nation to brighten our country’s future.

Ahn, She-young, Editorial Writer and Professor at Seogang University,