S. Korea honors 15 officers for last year’s mission to rescue Afghan coworkers

SEOUL-- South Korea on Monday conferred state decorations and citations on 15 military officers for their participation in last year's humanitarian mission to rescue nearly 400 Afghan coworkers and family members.

Defense Minister Suh Wook presented the awards to them and praised their successful completion of "Operation Miracle" under which they brought to Korea the Afghans that had faced Taliban threats for having supported foreign operations.

The awardees included Air Force Maj. Yang Jin-woo, the pilot of a C-130J transport plane mobilized for the mission, and Army Col. Chang Se-geun who led the on-the-ground operation. Yang received an order of national security merit while Chang got a national security medal.

During the awarding ceremony, the minister said that the rescue operation highlighted the importance of "strong power" needed to protect the nation and its citizens.

"The duty of the military is to do its utmost by establishing strong security and a robust defense posture so as to ensure citizens can rest assured and lead their day-to-day lives in peace," he was quoted as saying.

Source: Yonhap News Agency