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The Ministry of National Defense employs a project to resurrect ...

The Ministry of National Defense employs a project to resurrect fallen soldiers with AI for spiritual force education

- The Defense Ministry and the Defense Media Agency have used AI to recreate the late Major Park In-cheol, who died during a night flight training 16 years ago, to produce a video for spiritual force education entitled “Tales from the Barracks”
- This was a six-month production intended to honor the patriotic heroes’ noble sacrifice and dedication

On July 5, the Defense Ministry unveiled an image of the late Major Park In-cheol, who was resurrected using AI deep-fake technology into a virtual human, in the Defense TV's episode "Tales from the Barracks: Meet the Late Major Park In-cheol.”

“My mother knows how happy I was during my pilot training. I hope she doesn’t get upset. I did what I wanted to do, and I have no regrets.”

This is what the late Major Park In-cheol (Air Force Academy 52nd class), who died in the line of duty during a night flight training exercise, said to his mother (Lee Jun-shin, director of the Veterans Recreation Center) after being resurrected as a virtual human being after 16 years.

The late Major Park followed in the footsteps of his father, Park Myeong-ryeol, who was a fighter pilot (Air Force Academy 26th class) and became a KF-16 fighter pilot in the Air Force 20th Fighter Wing. However, Major Park’s father died during a team spirit training exercise in March 1984, and he himself tragically died in an accident in July 2007.

This marks the Defense Ministry’s first AI-based resurrection of a soldier who died in the line of duty. After a six-month production period, a touching reunion between mother and son was finally possible.

"Tales from the Barracks" is a spiritual force educational series planned and produced in collaboration with the Defense Ministry's Spiritual Force and Cultural Affairs Policy department and the Defense Media Agency. The Ministry decided to produce video materials given the tendency of soldiers to engage more with videos than texts. The series debuted in June 2022 with episodes covering events such as the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong and the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong. These videos were well-received by soldiers, as they found them engaging and easy to understand despite being educational.

In particular, "Tales from the Barracks" showcases the actions of patriotic heroes who were killed in action or died in the line of duty. While conducting interviews with the bereaved families and veterans for the production of the series, the team was reminded of the importance of remembering these heroes. During this time, they learned the story of the father and son duo, the late Majors Park Myeong-ryeol and Park In-cheol, memorialized by the “Tomb of the Patriotic Father and Son” in the Seoul National Cemetery, and the "Two Busts of Humans Combined with Jets,” located in the Air Force Academy. After watching a documentary featuring the late Major Park In-cheol, they were inspired to launch the resurrection project using existing data.

The most crucial aspect of advancing this project was securing the agreement of Director Lee Jun-shin, a surviving family member. This was necessary because recalling the painful memories of losing her husband and son was undoubtedly difficult. Fortunately, she understood the intentions of the program and her approval allowed the project to revive the late Major Park to proceed. The Defense Ministry and the Defense Media Agency crafted the scenario and simultaneously worked on reconstructing the late Major Park's face and voice. After approximately six months of production, including a preliminary investigation into whether such a revival was possible, the mother was finally able to meet her son.

The video begins with a scene where Director Lee, who sent her husband and son to heaven, meets the production team.

Director Lee said, "Previously when I was watching a TV program where a man met his deceased wife in a virtual space, I thought, ‘I wish I could see my son, In-cheol, at least once like that.’" As soon as her son appeared on the monitor and said, "I missed you, mom," she burst into tears.

On the monitor, Park In-cheol, a young man in his 20s, appeared with the same face, facial e-x-p-r-e-s-s-i-o-ns, and mouth as when he was alive, and he was smiling brightly. The late Major Park, who was resurrected as a virtual human being, spent 10 minutes talking to his mother for the first time in 16 years.

Lieutenant Colonels Kim Sang-hoon and Lee Doo-won (Air Force Academy 52nd class, 42 years old), who were classmates at the Air Force Academy with the late Major Park and were called the “Three Musketeers” during their cadet years, were also present. Lieutenant Colonel Lee said, "The moment he called my name, I felt like he was calling me in person." And Lieutenant Colonel Kim said, "In-cheol was a soldier who was committed to protecting our country," adding, "Please don't forget that all Korean soldiers are still dedicating themselves with the same heart as In-cheol."

This project was carried out under the guiding principle of "remembering those who sacrificed themselves for our country is a duty we must fulfill in the present.”

Lieutenant Colonel Lee Seon-mi from the Defense Ministry's Spiritual Force and Cultural Affairs Policy said, "We conceived this project while exploring ways to comfort the bereaved families of soldiers who were killed in action or died in the line of duty, and to honor the noble sacrifices of our patriotic heroes," and added, "We hope that with 'Tales from the Barracks,' people will understand the immense value of the blood and sweat that our heroes shed and will appreciate their dedication."

“Tales from the Barracks” is a program that all soldiers watch as part of their weekly spiritual force education. A new episode is produced once a week, focusing on the major battles of the Korean War and North Korea's provocations against South Korea. The program cultivates a critical perspective on hostile forces, a sense of national identity, and a clear military spirit among its viewers.

In particular, efforts are being made to uncover the deeds of lesser-known patriotic heroes and introduce them through these videos. This serves to highlight to the soldiers the importance of an uncompromising military spirit while honoring the noble dedication and sacrifice of these heroes.

The program airs on Defense TV at 10:00 a.m. every Wednesday and is made available to the public on the Defense News YouTube channel.


  • (Presentation and Follow-on discussion)