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Korea's First Female Combatant General & Commander Pilot Updated: 2010-12-17 12:00:00 KST

Korea's First Female Combatant General & Commander Pilot
The South Korean army named its first female combatant general in the 60 years of its history.
Army Colonel Song Myung-soon, who was promoted to brigadier general, said her promotion means the country recognizes the important role of female soldiers.


[Interview : Song Myung-soon, Brigadier general-selected
South Korea Army] "When I first joined the military, the role of a soldier was very traditional- to fight and win in battle. But nowadays, the military requires broader roles, such as peacekeeping missions. And I believe the roles fit for female soldiers will only expand."


Fifty-two-year-old Song spent 30 years in the army after she joined in 1981.
She said the hard core training wasn't a problem but being a working mom was her biggest challenge.


[Interview : Song Myung-soon, Brigadier general-selected
South Korea Army] "To work and raise children at the same time was the most challenging issue I had to go through. I believe it applies to most working moms worldwide."


And the army didn't take a giant step forward for women, alone.


[Reporter : Kim Na-ri
narikim@arirang.co.kr] "The Korean Air Force also produced its first female helicopter pilot for search and rescue missions."

Captain Lim Eun-young from the 6th search and rescue group in the 233rd squadron is the first female helicopter commander pilot.
The 30-year-old said being the first female commander pilot comes with great responsibility.


[Interview : Capt. Lim Eun-young
Korea Air Force] "I am happy to have achieved my personal goal to become a search and rescue commander pilot, but at the same time, I feel great responsibility, since the lives of my crew depend on me."
.

Lim has seen devastation in her career.
She was at Baengnyeong Island last March, when the Cheonan sank and killed 46 sailors, and at Yeonpyeong Island when North Korea launched an artillery strike last month.


[Interview : Capt. Lim Eun-young
Korea Air Force] "I was able to be in the field and witness the devastating scenes. Being at the sites made me desperate to work harder, as I conducted search operations."


Lim said the most challenging issue for her was that she had no female mentor to guide her.
But she is willing to become a role model for the next generation.


[Interview : Capt. Lim Eun-young
Korea Air Force] "I think it is my duty to become a great soldier, as well as a pilot, so I can be the best example not only for female soldiers, but for the entire military."


Kim Na-ri, Arirang News.
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