“He said he’d see me in two days when he got his leave….”
On April 1, a soldier died while sleeping in the living quarters of the 9th Airborne Special Forces Brigade, Special Warfare Command, Incheon. He was a 22-year-old corporal who had been enlisted for less than a year.
The corporal died just two hours after returning to his unit after having lunch with his parents. Military police and others launched an investigation, and the cause of death was recently confirmed.
The cause of death was “acute drug overdose.
He took 14 different types of medications, including psychiatric, neurological, and cold medications, along with energy drinks, reaching a lethal dose.
Lim Tae-hoon, director of the Military Human Rights Center, held a press conference today (Aug. 8) and claimed that “the corporal’s death was caused by improper personnel measures and neglect by the unit,” and that “he was a preventable person.”
“Corporal Lee’s death was preventable…due to improper personnel measures and unit neglect”
A representative from the Military Human Rights Center said, “It seems that the corporal had been struggling with unit issues since the beginning of his military career, but was left unattended by the leadership.”
The center explained that the unit arbitrarily changed the corporal’s position to an administrative officer when he appeared to have difficulty performing his duties as a transporter due to injuries to his hands and legs, and that he was subsequently verbally abused by senior soldiers.
He also said that the administrative officer and other senior officers had left the corporal to do the work that should have been done by officers.
Many of the administrative tasks that officers are supposed to do, such as creating call-in and on-call schedules, managing deployment status, and organizing personnel for firing drills, were done by Corporal Lee, often after work and on weekends.
■’Suicide risk group’ but no management….’Indifference and neglect’
The Military Human Rights Center also pointed to neglect by the unit. The corporal had already been classified as a “concern” during the “newcomer screening먹튀검증” shortly after deployment, showing signs of suicide risk, depression, and relationship isolation.
However, his unit did not interview him, and apparently did not even check the results of the test, according to the Military Human Rights Center.
The corporal was unable to participate in a cold-weather training mountain trek in late February due to his injuries, and was subsequently re-labeled as a “recruit” and attempted to harm himself.
Instead of actively protecting him, the unit retroactively falsified his interview notes, according to the Center for Military Human Rights.
■”My son died in a matter of hours…never again”
The corporal’s mother, who spoke at the press conference, recalled her son’s last appearance, saying, “He was smiling and eating well (that day),” and “I didn’t know he was so good at eating myeongin.”
“I didn’t know my son was such a good eater,” she recalled, “and I didn’t know he was a good eater.” The mother, who had just had lunch with him, was devastated to find him a cold corpse just three or four hours after they parted ways.
“He had so many chances to live, and he didn’t,” she criticized.
“There should be punishment for the military officers who did not do their job and the seniors who hurt him,” she said, adding, “There should never be another death like my son’s.”
“The Army explained to the bereaved family on the 19th of last month that insufficient unit management and inappropriate behavior of some unit members were identified during the investigation and that those involved would be dealt with in accordance with laws and regulations,” the Army said.
“We conducted a multifaceted investigation in cooperation with the civilian police to determine the cause of death,” it said, adding, “We will continue to conduct a transparent and thorough investigation to ensure that there is no suspicion of any aspect raised by the bereaved family.”