The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District hosted the 28th Korean Ministry of National Defense Exchange Program March 25-April 12.
The program started in 1985 to train military and civilian engineers from the defense ministry on design, project management, contracting, and construction processes of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Today, this tradition continues as the district graduated 18 more Republic of Korea military officers and civilian engineers.
Navy Capt. Ryu Kyu-seok, chief of USFK Construction Management Division, Defense Installations Agency, was the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony April 12.
"As a chief of USFK Construction Management Division, I see a big difference between those who attended the FED training program and those who do not. The lessons learned from the FED training are really beneficial. I hope every attendee takes what they learned and applies it to their job."
Throughout the course, the Korean engineers visited various branches of the district including Construction Division, Engineering Division, Korea Program Relocation Office, Contracting Division, Safety and Occupational Health Office, and Humphreys Area Office.
Lt. Col. Kim, Il-do, exchange training participant, was impressed with the Humphreys expansion and the day-to-day activities to run the project.
"I wanted to know why U.S. construction projects last longer and are managed better than Korean projects. Through this training I see why."
Lt. Col. Ju Won-young was also impressed with the advanced construction management system of the district.
"It was very impressing that FED puts the customer satisfaction first of all. I think that helps to think everything on customers' standpoint not for the easiness of project managers or construction workers."
Navy Lt. An Myung-jin added that putting safety first is what he will keep in mind.
"In Korean construction fields, efficiency is the most emphasized. But during this exchange training I learned how important safety is and will try not to forget."
After an intense couple of weeks the students graduated and received certificates of completion for the program.
Jon Iwata, deputy district engineer of the Far East District, congratulated the students upon completion of the program.
"As the video presentation shows we've been doing this since 1985. It has been quite a number of years and I truly believe that this program has advanced the understanding of MND personnel in the Corps of Engineers Far East District's business processes," said Iwata.
"I'd like to thank you for your attention and your supervisors for letting you come here for three weeks. I truly hope this is helpful for you."
Since the exchange program's inception 28 years ago, almost 250 Republic of Korea military officers and civilian engineers have graduated. The program has contributed greatly to bilateral relations and improving quality, communications, and execution of the host nation funded construction program.