Thursday, March 11, 2010

International Relations

My job here in Korea is to be part of a coordination team that helps the ROK Marine Corps take over the warfighting responsibilities on the peninsula in the near future. That means that I have to attend a lot of meetings. Here's an interesting (and unclassified) event from yesterday.

We're sitting in a conference room with about six officers on each side. At the last minute, a Korean Lieutenant Colonel walks in and sits down. I'd only seen him before during the video teleconferences and I knew he was a big guy but he's even bigger in person. We had taken to referring to him with nicknames like Gigantor, The Beast, or, after he loudly corrected the behavior of a room full of ROK Marines, The Enforcer.

The meeting progressed and we worked through our issues. As we were wrapping up and talking about future operations, the U.S. team leader says, pointing at The Enforcer, "I know one thing, I'd never want to go into hand to hand combat with that guy." We all laughed and the interpreter translated. The Koreans all laughed, the big one the loudest of them all. The ROK Colonel leans over with a smile and says, "He, uh..." and you could see him searching for the words, "He, uh... He big, uh... big teddy bear."

You could tell by the smile on Gigantor's face that he was absolutely correct.

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