Of the 301 members of the 34th Marine Corps Munmu the Great dispatched to the waters of Africa, 247, or 82%, were confirmed with Corona 19, and the remaining 54 people who were negative and unable to determine are not at ease.

This is the worst cluster infection.

Currently, from the captain to the youngest sailor, he is returning home with an air refueling tanker of the Air Force, leading his exhausted body.

It will arrive at Seongnam Seoul Airport in the afternoon of today (20th).



There is a lot of talk about why the group was infected and the response was delayed, and why the vaccine and antibody diagnostic kit were not sent.

Criticism of mass infection and late response is directed at the Cheonghae Unit.

Criticism of vaccines and antibody diagnostic kits is the responsibility of military commanders such as the Ministry of National Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Navy.



In fact, the process of failing to send vaccines and antibody diagnostic kits to dispatched ships is understandable.

Looking back now, it wasn't 100% perfect.

The kid wrote it, but there were loopholes.

It wasn't defenseless.



It is highly probable that the 34th base of the Cheonghae Unit got an emergency order and was infected while carrying out an operation to protect the public's safety.

After urgently moving to a fairly poor operational area and carrying out a mission to protect the public, a confirmed case followed a cold patient.

You can't blame them for making mistakes.

Cheonghae Unit members are entitled to enter Korea with their shoulders straight and their heads raised.



Infected during public protection missions in unfamiliar and poor areas

The Cheonghae Unit's 34th Army, the Munmu the Great, made a call to a port in Africa from June 28 to July 1.

Food and drinking water were provided.

The port of call is not Mustafa, the home port of the Cheonghae Unit in the Gulf of Aden, which is relatively safe.

It is a very poor area, far from the Gulf of Aden.

This is where we were dispatched on a mission to protect our people.



I wrote that I was concerned about quarantine during the shipment of goods, but the environment at the port of call was not enough, and the ship seems to have been penetrated by the virus.

On July 2nd, the first cold case occurred.

The Cheonghae Unit did not report this to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

After wasting the so-called Golden Time of 8 days, on July 10, when cold patients began to appear one after another, it was reported to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

However, it is crude to blame the Cheonghae Unit for not seeing it in time.



The JCS explained that the patient was prescribed medication on July 2 and improved quickly.

A Navy official said, "It's common to catch a cold on a ship in summer, but it's easy to treat with medicine, so it's not a big deal," said a navy official.



Above all, the ship Munmu the Great was dispatched to a rough place according to the command of the state, and was carrying out a mission to protect the people.

If we had stayed in the Gulf of Aden alone, there would have been no infection.

The mistake of not recognizing the July 2nd cold patient as a harbinger of COVID-19 would not negate their dedication.

It is reasonable to pay tribute to the members of the Cheonghae Unit who were infected with the epidemic while on duty.



The reason why vaccines were not supplied only to the Cheonghae Unit

The Ministry of National Defense and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) discussed the issue of vaccinating foreign troops last spring. The result of the consultation was that "There are many difficulties in promoting the vaccination of dispatched soldiers in consideration of overseas transportation of the vaccine and inoculation management," and "Vaccination is possible if the host country or the UN proposes."



So, the Hanbit Unit, which is part of the UN peacekeeping force, was vaccinated in cooperation with the UN. The Ark unit received the vaccine provided by the host country, the UAE, which requested its dispatch. The Cheonghae Unit, which is not affiliated with the UN and has no host country, did not have the right country to receive vaccine cooperation from.



Still, it would have been nice if our military sent a vaccine somehow. Jung Eun-kyung, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also said, "Since it is for military personnel, it may not be a problem to send a vaccine in consultation with a pharmaceutical company." “We are judging that we have not been able to supply vaccines because we have to send vaccines by plane, and problems with vaccine distribution are difficult,” Chung said. It is regrettable that the military failed to actively push forward the supply of vaccines to the Cheonghae Unit in the event of a contingency, but it is not something to sell off the military.



The antibody test kit that the Cheonghae Unit took with them when they departed for port in early February is also in trouble. It is a product with lower performance than antigen test kits. However, when the Cheonghae Unit departed, permission to use the antigen test kit was not granted. This is why the Cheonghae Unit used the antibody test kit.



The permission to use the antigen test kit fell last April. Even then, it would have been good to send them to the Cheonghae Unit, but the military did not intend to send them. If it had been sent, with the help of a local hospital, the outbreak of Corona 19 could be confirmed three days before the gene amplification (PCR) sample was tested. Again, it is difficult to say that the military neglected the Cheonghae Unit. It's just a pity that we didn't send a better product.



As a result, 82% of the members of the Cheonghae unit faced the worst case of group infection. Whatever the process, the responsibility rests with the military command. It is natural to be criticized. However, in a case like now that I did my own thing, but there is a hole, it is more appropriate to criticize affectionately rather than criticize for the sake of criticism.



And waiting for the 301 members of the 34th Battalion of the Cheonghae Unit, who were infected by devoting themselves to their mission in a rough place, should be comfort, respect, and applause. I look forward to seeing you proudly step onto the runway of Seoul Airport this afternoon. Never bow your head. I hope that we will wipe off the virus as soon as possible and get back on board the Munmu the Great. 

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