SEOUL, Republic of Korea — Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and 53rd U.S. Army Chief of Engineers, was conferred with a Korean name July 16, 2012 during a ceremony at the Korea Ministry of National Defense.
Suh Jin-sup, Chairman of the Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance Friendship Association, conferred Bostick with the name Park Bo-taek. The family name "Park" is derived from the Korean pronunciation of the letter "P," Bostick's middle initial. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District Headquarters is located on Eulji-ro (Eulji Street) in Seoul. Therefore Eulji is chosen as the origin for his family name.
Bo-taek is a combination of the Chinese characters "Bo," meaning "treasure," and "taek," meaning "house" together which sound similar to Bostick. "Bo" was chosen out of consideration of his responsibilities as commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and "Taek" for his responsibility to provide project management and construction support to 250 U.S. Army and Air Force installations worldwide.
"I noticed the inclusion of the Korean word 'Taek,' meaning house," said Bostick. "This is particularly important to me because I believe that one of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' greatest missions is providing the best facilities possible in which our service members can live, train, and work."
Bostick now shares the same family name with former Korean President Park Chung-hee, who played a major role in Korea's economic development, and former U.S. Ambassador to Korea Alexander R. Vershbow, whose Korean name is Park Bo-woo.
The bestowal of a Korean name is an important part of Korea's history and dynamic cultural heritage, but before receiving a Korean name, Bostick already had a familial connection with Korea going back to the 1950-1953 Korean War.
"My father, Army Master Sgt. Sidney Bostick, was one of the Soldiers who fought in this far-away land many years ago, and so it is especially meaningful for me to be honored by Chairman Suh and the wonderful Korean people this evening," said Bostick.
Bostick was also bestowed with the rank of honorary fifth degree black belt by Grand Master Lee In-ho of the American Taekwondo Association. Bostick is now a lifetime member of the association.
Maj. Gen. Paul Crandall, U.S. Forces Korea chief of staff for transformation and Bostick's West Point classmate and friend, proposed a toast at the ceremony.
"I have had the privilege of knowing Cadet Bostick for 38 years, since we were cadets," said Crandall. "It was evident to me and others from even those very early days that Cadet Bostick was clearly destined to serve with distinction and rise to the rank of general officer."
To strengthen the Alliance, the ROK-U.S. Alliance Friendship Association has bestowed Korean names on many American leaders. Bostick is now one of those leaders to receive a name. U.S. President, Barack Obama was given the name "O Han-ma." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was named "Han Hui-sook." Gen. Walton H. Walker, former Eighth U.S. Army commander, who died during the Korean War, was named "Gu Wung-su."