The National Security Council (NSC) of the White House released a statement mourning the death of Gen. Paik Sun-yup. Former commanders of the United States Forces Korea (USFK) also commemorated the memory of Paik.
“South Korea is a prosperous, democratic Republic today thanks to Paik Sun-yup and other heroes who put everything on the line to defeat Communist invaders in the 1950s. We mourn General Paik’s death at age 99 and salute his legacy,” said the NSC on Sunday (local time) via its Twitter account, along with the cover of “From Pusan to Panmunjom,” Paik’s memoir in English.
“Paik’s death is a huge loss to not only South Korea and the ROK-U.S. alliance but also me personally. He was the solider of the solider, my teacher, my friend, and a leader,” Gen. John Tilelli who served as a USFK commander from 1996 to 1999 said during an interview with Voice of America, reminiscing the deep connections he shared with Paik in South Korea.
Gen. Burwell Bell, a former USFK commander who served in South Korea from 2006 to 2008, praised Paik by describing him as the father of the South Korean military, comparable to George Washington, the first president of the U.S. “Paik led the South Korean military to victory during extremely confusing and uncertain war operations against the North Korean People's Army and the Communist Chinese army during the Korean War, which is comparable to the victory of the American Revolutionary War by Washington.” He also added, “We lost one of the greatest military leaders in the world and I lost my dearest friend.”
“Paik had strengthened the ROK-U.S. alliance for the past 70 years,” another former USFK commander who served in South Korea from 2011 to 2013, Gen. James Thurman, said. “He was a true hero and a patriot who had kept the alliance intact, and also a smart advisor,” he added, showing respect to the late general. “He understood well the value of freedom and what sacrifice means. He left a legacy that will last a long time.”
“I have respected General Paik for decades,” said Gen. Vincent Brooks, who served as a USFK commander from 2016 to 2018. “Paik’s death is a deep loss for the bilateral alliance and a true part of history has passed away,” he added. “The passing of General and Ambassador Paik, Sun-yup marks the closing of the first 70 years of the ROK-U.S. Alliance, while his life and contributions to the Alliance serve as a great role model for the future of this close and invaluable relationship,” the Korea Defense Veterans Association mourned Paik’s death.
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