Army chief urges reform after shooting spree

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 21, 2014 - 20:28
  • Updated : Jul 21, 2014 - 20:28
The Army chief called Monday for thorough reform efforts in the wake of last month’s deadly shooting spree at a border outpost, vowing to make his organization stronger and more efficient, the Army headquarters said.

Gen. Kwon Oh-sung made the remark during the Army’s biannual commander meeting held at the Army compound in Gyeryong, some 176 kilometers south of Seoul.

Last month, a 22-year-old Army sergeant fired on his comrades at his general outpost in the inter-Korean border town of Goseong, 250 kilometers east of Seoul, killing five and wounding seven others after allegedly being bullied by his colleagues.

“We all should reflect on ourselves for causing such a great shock to the people due to the GOP shooting rampage ... A slew of mistakes and flaws over the course of managing the case also have been sources of concern,” Kwon said.

Two days after fleeing the scene with a rifle and a stash of ammunition, the soldier was captured after a botched suicide attempt.

The investigation into the case, however, revealed that troops pursuing the fugitive soldier ran into him six times but failed to apprehend him. A platoon leader also sustained a gunshot wound to his arm after being hit by friendly fire during the search.

“We should make a firm resolution in a fresh way for changes and innovation,” he stressed, calling for utmost efforts “to settle all flaws found through the incident.”

“As a sign to start anew, we will launch the so-called ‘Armyship-plus campaign’ that calls for a series of activities to innovate the Army’s morals and leadership and to fulfill the value of fidelity, courage and responsibility,” an Army officer said.

“We are scheduled to announce comprehensive reform measures next month to prevent the recurrence of such a tragic incident and to lay a strong foundation for the whole organization,” he added.

During the day-long meeting, the Army plans to review how its policy goal of boosting its combat readiness and capabilities has proceeded. The military has been working to arm each unit with “optimum firepower and maneuver equipment.”

Also on the table was how to boost the effectiveness of the organization by eliminating unnecessary rules and practices, according to the Army headquarters. (Yonhap)