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Handling Unexpected Situations in Korea


(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)

"So a lot of the times when we'd bring out these key leader engagements, when you hear that in the military, about the first thing that somebody thinks of is, okay, we're going to meet a village sheikh or something. It's a lot more tense, that situation, that security is involved, there's serious negotiations going on, but when we're doing these leader engagements with the U.S. military and the ROK, we're already allies. The seriousness, the security of that situation is not as severe."

"One of the visits I had—it was actually, it was probably the most stressful part of my military career so far. They told me I was going to be involved with this briefing, and I'm like, okay, I'll be in the briefing, and it's going to be like four people, nothing big. And I go in, and there's a video screen—I'm like, okay, I wasn't expecting a virtual thing... Nine people pop up and I'm like, who are these people? Apparently, these are all the colonels from both the U.S. and the South Korean side who are the heads of the Air Force, the Navy…"

“In that situation, if you don't know the formality of this situation and you don't know how to present yourself, go as formal as you can. And I remember that I was speaking to them, doing that brief in Korean for them, because I had presented it, I thought I was just going to be saying it out loud. But they could see me. I could see heads popping from the side, because I guess the Korean side was trying to see—they're like, doesn't sound like perfect Korean, but it's Korean. But they were all trying to see who's this white guy talking on the screen or whatnot. But it was just pretty normal stuff that we'd expect on the U.S. military side. It was just the severity of how you have to present that information. [It] just definitely felt a lot more intense than it would have on the military side in the U.S."

A service member describes how to present yourself professionally in unexpected situations.