Korean-Americans serving in the US Army went undercover to find out how South Koreans felt about the presence of American troops in their country- and the results may surprise you.
Conducting a social experiment, Korean-American soldier Mykey S. and his comrades took a survey from locals (and one expatriate), asking how they felt about the US Military presence, deliberately speaking Korean and failing to identify themselves as American soldiers.
“We tried to make a fun video on a free Saturday that we had because we were genuinely curious about what they thought,” Mikey wrote in the video’s description. “The host and crew are US soldiers but we didn’t disclose that to the interviewees until the end of the interview to keep the opinions unbiased. We approached them speaking in Korean and we got their full permission to post this video.”
In general, the Koreans had a favorable view of US troops, describing them as strong, brave and physically fit. For some reason, one of the most memorable historical anecdotes for many of the interviewees was how American troops used to give children candy during the Korean War.
With the good, however, there is always some bad- South Korean women who were interviewed claimed they did not like being womanized by US troops, who they felt thought they could be easily taken advantage of. Other criticisms included only socializing in bars/clubs and not bothering to learn Korean.
The US Army has been in Korea since the 1950s, when the armistice effectively put the Korean War on pause. While the numbers of bases have grown and shrunk over time, the presence of US forces in Korea has been a constant one for quite some time and a great deterrent to South Korea’s spiteful northern neighbor.
In addition to the US Army’s presence, the US Air Force maintains two bases in Korea and the United States Navy (and by small extension, the Marines) have a place to conduct operations as well.
Advice for Americans stationed in Korea? Get out of your comfort zone, learn the social/cultural do’s & don’ts and try to see more of the country than just the -possibly off-limits- clubs and bars outside of the base. Oh, and learn some Korean. It’s only proper to do so as an ambassador of the USA.
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