(Video provided by Hanbit unit)
|Soldiers of the Republic of Korea Army's Hanbit unit in South Sudan salute in this video footage for their Chuseok message to people in South Korea. Courtesy of Hanbit unit|
By Jung Da-min
When most office workers enjoy a long weekend over Chuseok, a nationwide harvest festival holiday celebrated in both Koreas, military service personnel at home and abroad continue to serve on their missions, according to the Joint Cheifs of Staff. This year's Chuseok falls on Friday.
For the service personnel with South Korea's four overseas units ― Hanbit, Dongmyeong, Akh and Cheonghae ― Chuseok is still meaningful as they celebrate with traditional events including traditional games such as "yutnori," a traditional board game, or "jegichagi," a traditional shuttlecock game.
In particular, the Republic of Korea Army's Hanbit unit, operating on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan since 2013, held a cultural event inviting about 200 children staying at the unit's refugee shelter as well as some 30 U.N. and NGO officials there.
Established in Bor city by the Hanbit unit in 2014, the shelter houses about 2,000 refugees of the Nuer tribe after they were forced to leave their homes due to the conflict between the Nuer and Dinka, which inhabit a vast region there.
|Hanbit soldiers wearing Korean traditional masks and Nuer children pose for a photo during the Hanbit unit's Chuseok event in South Sudan. Courtesy of Hanbit unit|
At the Chuseok event held by the South Korean unit, the children of Nuer watched a taekwondo demonstration and a modeum buk ― a Korean traditional percussion instrument ― performance. They also enjoyed yutnori, jegichagi and kite-flying together with the Hanbit soldiers.
(Video provided by Hanbit unit)
The Hanbit unit also installed a medical booth for health checks for the children as well as a clinic. Soldiers also presented them with some Chuseok gifts, including school supplies and shoes.
In Tyre, a city in southern Lebanon, soldiers of the ROK Army's Dongmyeong unit, also operating on a peacekeeping missions as part of the U.N. Interim Forces in the region since 2007, kept up their watertight surveillance activities to prevent any influx of weapons that could be used for terrorism.
|Soldiers of the Republic of Korea's Dongmyeong unit in Lebanon make video calls to their families in South Korea. Courtesy of Dongmyeong unit|
Tyre is a conflict zone where there have been armed clashes between the forces of Hezbollah and Israel. Deployed at the request of the U.N., Dongmyeong soldiers monitor cars that pass through the region. Tensions there have heightened in recent years with increased terrorism activities by the Islamic State militant group.
Dongmyeong soldiers have been recognized by the U.N. and local residents for their great mission capabilities. While maintaining their mission, they also celebrated Chuseok enjoying some traditional games.
Servicemen of the ROK Army's Akh unit, the "elite" forces sent at the request of the United Arab Emirates' military to help train their counterparts in the Middle East country, also celebrated Chuseok while continuing their mission.
|Servicemen of the Republic of Korea Army's Akh unit in the United Arab Emirates play jegichagi, a traditional Korean game. Courtesy of Akh unit|
Stationed in Al Ain in the UAE since 2011, around 150 servicemen including Special Forces and the Navy's underwater demolition/SEAL team members have helped train UAE forces in various environments ― desert, air and sea.
The ROK Navy's Cheonghae unit, operating the country's first overseas anti-piracy mission in waters off Somalia, also celebrated Chuseok during their mission in the Gulf of Aden.
The Cheonghae unit has joined maritime missions of the U.S.-led multinational naval partnership Combined Maritime Forces since 2009. It has been cooperating with Combined Task Force 151, one of the taskforces operated by the multinational combined forces.
Around 1,100 servicemen are currently on overseas missions representing the Republic of Korea.
|Sailors of the Republic of Korea Navy's Cheonghae unit in the Gulf of Aden play yutnori, a traditional Korean game. Courtesy of Cheonghae unit|