General Paik Sun-yup - Korea's First 4-Star General and Korean War Legend
Paik was born in Kangsŏ-gun, South P'yŏngan, currently the city of Nampo, on November 23, 1920, during a time when Korea was under Japanese rule. He was born the youngest of three siblings being raised by a widowed mother. In 1925 the Paik family moved to Pyongyang where it lived under extremely poor conditions in a single, rented room. Unable to feed her family, Paik's mother attempted to take the children and commit family suicide by jumping from the Taedong River bridge but was dissuaded from doing so by his older sister. Read more on his Facebook page GENERAL PAIK OPERATIONAL COMMAND POST, South Korea (Aug. 29, 2013)
-- Eighth Army named the Republic of Korea Army's first four-star general as an honorary Eighth Army commanding general
during exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian, here, Aug. 29, 2013. Retired Republic of Korea Army Gen. Paik Sun-yup received the honorary commander title during his first visit to the Eighth Army operational command post, or OCP, that was named after him in June. He was accompanied by retired Gen. Charles Campbell, a former Eighth Army commander; Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Operations Maj. Gen. Walter M. Golden; Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Sustainment Brig. Gen. Chris Gentry; and Eighth Army Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Devens. Representing Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, Golden presented the 93-year-old retired general with a U.S. Army Combat Uniform top and Devens gave Paik an Eighth Army combat patch.
Paik is South Korea's most highly decorated war hero
, and he led combat forces in 10 major battles from the Nakdong River to the Yalu River. Paik also served on the Korean War Armistice Commission and helped to establish the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army program that assigns ROK Army troops to Eighth Army units. Paik chronicled his Korean War service in his memoir, "From Pusan to Panmunjom." Paik became a ROK Army brigadier general before turning 30. During his uniformed career, Paik commanded the 5th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, 1st Infantry Division, I Corps, II Corps, First ROK Army, the ROK Army and the ROK Armed Forces. Paik was also the first ROK Army general to command a combined joint task force. "This is a great honor," said Paik. "I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks to General Champoux, the commander of Eighth Army, for the great honor he has given me today." "For the past 60 years under the protection of the Eighth Army, the Republic of Korea has prospered to what it is today," said Paik.
It was the end of 1950. The Chinese had entered the war. For the battle-fatigued Eighth Army, withdrawn into a defensive position below the 38th parallel on the wintry Korean Peninsula, it was a time of doubt and disillusionment. What they needed was effective leadership; what they needed more, were victories. After a few limited objective attacks, their commander Lt. Gen. Matthew Ridgway launched Operation Thunderbolt on January 25, 1951. It was an unqualified success, due, in part, to the subordinate commands of the Eighth Army working in unison, Their unofficial motto after the operation was "WE Go Together!" Follow-up counter-offensive operations, code named "Roundup," "Killer," and "Ripper," took friendly forces into Seoul by mid-March. By the end of the month, the Eighth was re-crossing the 38th parallel and digging in twenty miles beyond. With the very survival of the Republic of Korea on the line, the wartime leaders rose to the challenge. General Douglas A. MacArthur, Lt. Gen. Ridgway, Maj. Gen. Chung II Kwon, and Brig. Gen. Paik Sun Yup, at a Corps Commander Conference at Suwon Air Base, bound forces together in the defense of freedom on the Korean Peninsula. Today the alloy, forged in the crucible of war fifty years age, remains ready to meet the common danger with their watchwords the same as they were half century ago: "We Go Together!"General Paik played a significant role in the transitional period from an old to modern military. He was promoted to Army Chief of Staff in 1952 and was promoted to four-star general the following year, becoming the first Korean to become a four-star general. General Paik would go on to become the first Asian commander of the First Field Army in 1954, commanding 400,000 troops along the 155-mile-long border. He would also serve as the Chairman for the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff until his retirement from military service in May 1960.
After retiring from the ROK Army, General Paik would go on to serve as ambassador to Taiwan, France and Canada from 1960 to 1965. He also served as minister of transportation between 1969 and 1971, helping construct the Seoul Metropolitan Subway System. General Paik also helped build the War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan, central Seoul.
The original painting of CPT Paik and Gen MacArther still hangs in the lobby of the Dragon Hill Lodge, Yongsan Army Garrison. Gen Paik visits the DHL several times a week to eat breakfast at the Greenstreet restaurant inside the DHL, which I frequent myself almost daily prior to work. I have had the honor of meeting and with talking with him and even introduced my
Director (3-star himself) to him during his DV visits to Korea. On 3 Mar 2009 I even presented the General one of my organizational coins.
Wikipedia - General Paik Sun-yup
Two Koreas back at square one - General Paik's Role [Korea JoongAng Daily] (.pdf)