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Korean War Hero General Paik Sun-yup passes away

Republic of Korea’s first four-star general passes away at the age of 100;
Led Korean troops to great victory on the front lines of Nakdongang River, and to the recapturing of Pyongyang
Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo paid tribute to Paik’s “lifelong devotion to military development”
Army funeral service held for Paik on July 15; many people from various circles attended the ceremony to express their condolences to his family

General Paik Sun-yup, a hero of the Battle of Dabudong during the Korean War, passed away at approximately 11:04 p.m. on July 10 at the age of 100.

The late general Paik Sun-yup was born in Kangso-gun, South Pyongan Province, in 1920. He was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the army after graduating from the Military Language School in 1946. During his military career, he filled the positions of commander of the 1st Division, commander of the 1st Corps, commander of the First Field Army, 7th and 10th Army Chief of Staff, and 4th Chairman for the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff. The numerous orders of merit he received include the Taeguk Order of Military Merit, the Ulchi Order of Military Merit, the Chungmu Order of Military Merit, the United States (US) Silver Star Medal, and the Canada Order of Merit.

Designated as the commander of the 1st Division in April 1950, Paik achieved great victory at the Battle of Dabudong, which took place on the front lines of the Nakdonggang River area. The victory served as a platform to carry out counterattack operations. In October of the same year, his 1st Division became the first to enter Pyongyang, which raised South Koea's national pride and the people’s morale.

In July 1951, Paik participated in the armistice negotiation on behalf of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Armed Forces. Once appointed as the Army Chief of Staff in 1952, he took the lead in modernizing the military. He established ten reserve divisions and worked together with US General Van Fleet to reform the training system. In January of 1952 he became the ROK’s first four-star general, and retired in May 1960.

Surviving members of Paik’s family include his wife Noh In-sook, his sons Nam-hyuk and Nam-hong, and his daughters Nam-hee and Nam-soon. Paik’s wake was at Asan Medical Center in Seoul. Presided over by the Army Chief of Staff, a send-off ceremony was held at Asan Medical Center in Seoul at 7:30 a.m. on July 15. Paik’s burial ceremony was held as an army funeral ceremony at Daejeon National Cemetery at 11:30 a.m. on July 15.

Many people from a range of circles, including US officials, visited the wake of General Paik. Paik’s portrait was put between the Taeguk Order of Military Merit and US Silver Star Medal, which had been awarded to Paik during his life, and were surrounded with condolence flowers from government officials, including President Moon Jae-in, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo, Democratic Party Chairman Lee Hae-chan, United Future Party’s interim chief of the emergency committee Kim Chong-in, and National Intelligence Service director nominee Park Jie-won.

The day after Paik’s death, Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo visited the wake to express his condolences over the ‘war hero’s’ last journey. “On behalf of ROK soldiers, I would like to pay my respects and offer my deepest condolences to the family of General Paik Sun-yup, who devoted his life to the development of the ROK and the military,” Jeong said in a funeral address. “As the ROK’s first four-star general, General Paik led his troops in every critical battle during the Korean War to protect the freedom and peace of the ROK. He also helped to lay the groundwork for the ironclad ROK-US alliance,” he added, following with the pledge that “Taking his noble sacrifice and thorough spirit as a service member, our military will do our best to protect the lives and safety of our people, and to create a new peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

US Forces Korea (USFK) commander Robert Abrams also expressed his condolences over the death of General Paik: “He is a hero and national treasure who will be truly missed.”

"On behalf of the USFK, I offer my heartfelt condolences and consolation to the family and friends of General Paik. He made an incredible contribution to shaping the ROK-US alliance into what it is today," Abrams said in a statement mourning his death, lauding him as a hero who had been promoted to the Army Chief of Staff, as the first four-star general in the history of the ROK military.


On July 12, a number of high-ranking government officials, including Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, President Moon Jae-in’s Chief of Staff Noh Young-min, Director of the National Security Office Suh Hoon, Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Yoo-geun, and Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Hyun-jong, came to the funeral service to offer their condolences to the family of the deceased.

Korean War Hero General Paik Sun-yup passes away
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