Korea America Friendship Society (KAFS) President Hwang Jin-Ha, third from left, poses with invited guests during the society’s annual June Festival for U.S. servicemen in Korea. Photo courtesy of KAFS

Annual meeting held to promote Korea-US relationship

Korea America Friendship Night served once again as a good opportunity to confirm the past alliance of 70 years between the two countries and their future.

Held recently at a downtown hotel in Seoul, its annual June Festival picked the 2023 Korea American Friendship Society (KAFS) winners of six U.S. servicemen who have contributed to bilateral relationships.

KAFS President Hwang Jin-ha said this year’s June Festival was prepared to congratulate the successful Washington summit between President Yoon Suk-yeol and President Joe Biden in April.

What began as a security partnership has grown and expanded into a truly global alliance that champions democratic principles, enriches economic cooperation, and drives technological advancements, according to Hwang.

Minister Counsellor Robert Post for Public Diplomacy, U.S. Embassy Seoul who spoke on the podium on behalf of U.S. Amb. Philip Goldberg, commemorated this historic year for the bilateral ties.

He said that the two leaders had committed to developing an ever-stronger mutual defense relationship and affirmed in the strongest words possible their commitment to the combined defense posture under the Mutual Defense Treaty.

Among the 2023 KAFS winners, Maj. Stephen Brooks played a key role in establishing a partnership between Pyeongtaek University’s ROTC program and Headquarters & Headquarters Battalion, Eighth Army.

Sr. Master Sgt. Alejandrina Evans dedicated her time to community service in promoting friendship and goodwill between the United States and Korea.

SSgt. Jonathan Hemme of the U.S Marine Corps. Forces Korea has led community engagement initiatives, fostering relationships between MARFORK Marines and Family with local groups, including the Pyeongtaek LH Childcare Center.

RP1 Seneta has played a crucial role in fostering a positive relationship between the U.S Navy and the local Korean community. SSgt. Ellen Lim played a vital role in strengthening the US-ROK alliance through her dedicated 160-plus hours of service.

During his tour at Camp Mujuk in South Korea, Corporal Jose A. Pepin actively participated in community events, including teaching English, and assisting with tycoon recovery and beach cleanup, according to its screening committee.