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“Proud that perfect mission capability was publicized to the world”

Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup encouraged participants in the search and salvage operation to retrieve the sunken debris from a failed North Korean rocket launch

“Proud that perfect mission capability was publici


Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup (middle in the front row) encourages commanders and soldiers who participated in an operation to recover debris from a North Korean rocket and poses for a picture at MND Convention in Yongsan-gu, Seoul on July 14.


On July 14, Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup encouraged the participants of a search and rescue operation to salvage sunken debris from a failed North Korean rocket launch.


The event was attended by 12 people including commanders and soldiers, Navy deep sea divers, Navy Special Warfare Flotilla (UDT/SEAL) personnel, and ship servicemen. Minister Lee had a meal with them, listened to their stories and expressed appreciation for their achievement.


Sergeant Shin Kyung-joon, a deep-sea diver engaged in the underwater recovery work, said, “The operation was extremely difficult due to strong currents in the West Sea and limited visibility. Fortunately, I had performed a few preliminary drills on land with my eyes closed before diving. Thanks to the physical strength I diligently cultivated, I was able to overcome these challenges.”


UDT/SEAL Sergeant First Class Park Ki-deok, who was responsible for underwater demolition, said, “Several rounds of rehearsals on land and underwater with a simulated model similar to the recovered rocket were very helpful. Doing exercises like an actual situation was the basis for this successful operation.”


ROKS Gyeonggi serviceman Sergeant First Class Son Kwon-hee, who first arrived at the site, attempted to approach and salvage the rocket using a rapid inflatable boat (RIB). “When I saw part of the object about 2 meters in the water, I thought I could easily recover it,” he said, “but it was too big to lift right away. I did rope binding work and installed buoys from the RIB onto it to prevent it from sinking.”


Colonel Kang Seong-won, commander of Sea Salvage & Rescue Unit (SSU), said, “I was a bit worried because many junior officers were engaged in the operation, and to my surprise, they looked determined as the operation proceeded and completed the mission successfully.”


Minister Lee said, “I am proud that your perfect operation, from search to salvage, demonstrated the South Korean military's excellent mission performance capabilities. This sends a message to our people and the world. I thank all of you who faithfully performed your duties during the 36-day operation.”

By Chae-Mu, Im < > 

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