The 34th ship of the Cheonghae Unit, the Munmu the Great, departed from Jinhae Port on February 8th, carrying out a mission to protect Korean merchant ships and the people in the Gulf of Aden-Persian Gulf waters for six months. Additional orders were issued during the mission. It was dispatched to a very poor place and put into operation to protect the people. The mass infection occurred during an additional mission. The first confirmed case was reported to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the 14th, and the Air Force air refueling plane flew on the 19th, five days later. And on the 20th, they all returned through Seongnam Seoul Airport.



The fact that the 34th Army of the Cheonghae Unit did not receive the vaccine and did not bring the rapid antigen test kit was a failure. It overlooked the possibility that additional missions could be given to areas vulnerable to COVID-19. It's a mistake. As a result, 90% of the 301 people were infected. However, the operation to quickly return the joint forces was carried out, and the evacuation was successful. Then, from February 8 to the present, is the mission and operation of the 34th camp of the Cheonghae Unit a failure or a success as a whole?



Seeing the return of the 34th camp of the Cheonghae Unit, many people think of the Americans at the Battle of Jangjin Lake. In the winter of 1950, the 1st Division of the U.S. Marine Corps, led by Major General Oliver Smith, was ambushed in the mountainous areas of Hamgyeong-do and was devastated by the surprise attack of the 9th Corps of the Chinese Army. The annihilation of the US 1st Marine Division was almost certain, but it escaped to Heungnam through the encirclement of more than ten times the force. Of course, there were a lot of casualties, but the 9th Chinese Infantry Corps suffered a devastating blow that made it difficult to rebuild.



During the operation, when a war correspondent asked if the Marines were retreating, Major General Smith left a famous saying, "Retreat, we are doing a 'reverse maneuver' and 'advance backwards'."

The United States does not view the Battle of Jangjin Lake as a defeat.

Although they misjudged the Chinese military's participation in the war and the terrain and climate of Hamgyeong-do, it was recognized as a successful withdrawal while conserving power.



The same goes for the Cheonghae Unit.

In spite of the painful misjudgment in the early stages, the decision to withdraw quickly and evacuation were made.

The Cheonghae Unit and the U.S. Marine Corps 1st Division overcame common mistakes and succeeded in the operation.

The difference is that in the US, the Marines of the Battle of Jangjin Lake are regarded as heroes, whereas we consider the Cheonghae Unit 34 to be the worst failure.


The imminent return of the Cheonghae Unit

Once again, it is an inexcusable military mistake to not vaccinate and not distribute rapid antigen test kits. It is time to humbly reflect and accept criticism. However, the 34th camp of the Cheonghae Unit faithfully performed its original mission and added missions. Meanwhile, he was infected with COVID-19, but quickly returned.



As the number of confirmed cases and related reports began to pour in, rumors began to spread in Africa that "The Munmu the Great is a corona 19 infection trap." The military command asked the captain of the Munmu the Great, "What is the most urgent thing right now?" The commander replied, "It is urgent to enter the port." For hospitalization of patients, securing medicines, food and fuel, and for gene amplification PCR testing, it was necessary to make a call to land, but no country gave up a port to the 'infection trap' Munmu the Great.




The military command instructs the relevant departments to say, "The first task is to enter the Cheonghae Unit," and with the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, etc., they found a port to call.

At the same time, we opened the sky road by consulting with the countries through which air refueling transport aircraft must be dispatched.



Some say that the Cheonghae Unit was denied entry to the port because of its lack of military diplomacy, but that is not true.

The port was refused due to the spread of infection rumors, and it was urgently searched for a port through a collaboration between the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Within a week of the outbreak, all were evacuated.

The first mission, the second mission, and the joint operation leading to the sudden return of the 34th camp of the Cheonghae Unit were successful.

It is unfortunate that we did not respond in advance to the variables of COVID-19, but nonetheless, the assigned missions and operations were accomplished brilliantly.


"Successful mission over bad conditions"

Prior to the Battle of Jangjin Reservoir, Commander Douglas MacArthur, commander of the UN Forces, missed any signs of Chinese intervention. General Smith could not predict how cold winters in North Korea's mountainous regions would be. Even if the Chinese army intervened and ambushed, I didn't know that tens of thousands of troops from 3 corps and 12 divisions would seep into the quasi-ryeong without even a mouse or bird.



Our military command also missed the opportunity to vaccinate the Cheonghae Unit 34 by uncritically accepting the government's opinion that it is difficult to supply vaccines to dispatched units. The variable of in-ship vaccination also clouded the judgment of the military and quarantine authorities. When the Navy's Hansando vessel recently supported the vaccination of islanders, the criteria for initiating vaccination was the weather in which helicopters could operate. In the event of an adverse reaction, the vaccine was administered only if it was possible to evacuate by helicopter.



It is not a small mistake not to carry the rapid antigen test kit. However, even if I had brought the antigen test kit, I should have known the confirmation earlier, but I wonder if it would have been able to prevent the mass infection. Above all, the 34th Army of the Cheonghae Unit performed its first and second missions and returned to rapid support from the air force and navy joint forces after overcoming a mass infection. It is a successful mission, a successful operation, like the U.S. Marine Corps 1st Division's withdrawal from Heungnam.



In an interview with the reporters of the Ministry of National Defense of the 34th Division of the Cheonghae Unit on the 23rd (23rd), the soldiers said, "We told only the negative people to return home and the positive ones who developed an immune system to remain until the end and drive the ship back." , "When we met, we worried about each other asking if we were okay," he said.



These are the men of the sea who tried to protect the ship until the end despite the mass infection.

Some criticize this interview as a 'control interview', that is, an interview managed behind the scenes by the government, or that "there were limits due to the control of the Ministry of National Defense."

In fact, the Ministry of National Defense, the Navy, and the 34th Division of the Cheonghae Unit had no intention of interviewing.

Reporters first made a request to the Ministry of National Defense, and seven soldiers raised their hands to participate in the interview.

The control interview could not be established in the first place.

This is an insult to the 34th camp of the Cheonghae Unit.



Praise is stingy, criticism abounds...

The UK's Queen Elizabeth Carrier Fleet has recently reported more than 100 cases of breakthrough infection with COVID-19. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace did not mind, saying "the mass infection is being controlled" and ordered the continuation of cruise drills. The carrier group is sailing eastward and is conducting joint naval exercises one after another. It is the fate of a soldier to meet and overcome unexpected adverse conditions and move forward. The breakthrough infection of COVID-19 is a task that has come abruptly to the carrier group, but needs to be overcome. There is no fuss from the British politicians and the media who are arguing for good or bad.



It's very different from us. After some mistakes of the 34th camp of the Cheonghae Unit were made public, the whole country is making a fuss about the military. If so, what would it be like when the 33rd and 32nd quarters of the Cheonghae Unit, who could not even afford to supply vaccines or kits, came back from their mission? No one was interested except for the Naval Command. It is the same situation with the many soldiers who work hard and dedicate themselves in places where they cannot see, whether it is cold or hot. Respect for hard work and dedication is hard to find. There is no praise, and the moment you do it, you become an insult. It is a very difficult country to serve as a soldier.



The inspection of the Ministry of National Defense, which looks at the 34th Division of the Cheonghae Unit from the preparation stage to their return, started on the 22nd. The premise of the audit should be the successful performance of the mission of the 34th Division of the Cheonghae Unit. All 301 soldiers must not be injured by a single hair.



The National Assembly National Defense Committee plenary meeting tomorrow will also focus on mass infection of the Cheonghae Unit, and I hope that the National Defense Commission members will pay more attention to the successful mission of the Cheonghae Unit 34. As a member of the National Defense Commission, it seems that it is a responsible position as a member of the National Defense Commission to refrain from making accusations that lower the morale of soldiers, and instead to add wisdom to measures to preserve combat power in the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease.   

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