Colonel Yeong-Tae “Y.T.” Pak had much to celebrate on March 4, 2013.
In a ceremony held at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Col. Pak and his family celebrated the conclusion of his 30-year career in the U.S. Army. It is one that took them around the world with assignments in Germany, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Washington, D.C., and finally, Hawaii where he served as the head of the APCSS Executive Operations Group.
The honored speaker was U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Deputy Commander, Lt. Gen. David Halverson, who served with Pak several times throughout their careers. He spoke of the importance of family and their family ties which was an unofficial theme for the ceremony.
While retirement ceremonies are very special events, this one was especially notable.
Participating were his wife Young-Ae, his daughter Air Force ROTC cadet (and former APCSS intern) Sarah Pak and his son Army 1st Lt. Jason Pak.
Two months ago 1st Lt. Jason Pak was critically injured by an IED while serving in Afghanistan. He lost both legs and several fingers but despite it all he kept his positive attitude. A tight-knit family, the Paks came together to support Jason during his recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. During the recovery Jason set a milestone: that he would stand at his father’s retirement ceremony.
During the ceremony, with this son and daughter both standing at attention, Col. Pak closed out his career.
“I must never forget to thank all the soldiers, non-commissioned officers and fellow officers, who helped me throughout my career,” said Pak. “I also need to thank Lt. Gen. Leaf and Brig. Gen. Hirai. They are truly the right leaders at the right time as we (APCSS) move to the next level to ‘Change the World.”
“It was 30 years ago when I stood on the plains at West Point to take my oath as a proud officer in the United States Army. It has been a tremendous journey that has not only developed me as a person but provided me a wealth of experience and numerous friends around the world that will last a lifetime,” said Pak.
The story of 1st Lt. Pak and his father was also covered by local ABC news affiliate KITV. It can be viewed online at: http://www.kitv.com/Solider-who-lost-his-legs-stands-for-his-father-s-retirement/-/8906042/19181318/-/item/0/-/17vywr/-/index.html
Colonel Yeong-Tae “YT” Pak was born in Pusan, Korea and immigrated to Highland Falls, NY in 1971. Colonel Pak entered military service being commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1983. His military education includes the Field Artillery Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Japanese Command and General Staff College, and the Senior Service College, Korean Institute for Defense Analyses Fellowship. He is also a graduate of the United States Joint Forces Staff College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Seminar XXI. He holds a Master’s degree in Asian Languages and Culture from the University of Kansas and a Master’s in Management from Troy State University.
Colonel Pak has served in a variety of command and staff positions from battery to brigade. Some of the key positions he held are platoon leader and company executive officer in 2nd Battalion 92nd Field Artillery in Giessen, Germany. He commanded two battery commands, Brigade Fire Support Officer and Battalion as well as Division Artillery Executive Officer positions, all in the 2nd Infantry Division, Korea. He was Aide de camp to the Commander, United States Army Japan and later Executive Officer to the Deputy Commander in Chief, Republic of Korea/United States Combined Forces Command. A graduate of the Foreign Service Institute, Joint Military Attaché School and Defense International Security Assistance Management courses, Colonel Pak served as the Director of Operations, Policy, and Liaison in Joint United States Military Affairs Group (JUSMAG) and as the J5 Political-Military Officer in the United States Forces Korea. Colonel Pak also served as the G- 3/5/7, Strategy, Plans and Policy, lead for the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review at the Pentagon. He also served as the Associate Director in the Defense Language Office of the Secretary of Defense. Colonel Pak also was the Division Chief for the Army Current Operations and Contingency Plans in Pentagon, Washington DC. Subsequently, Colonel Pak was the Senior Defense Official/ Defense and Army Attaché to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Culminating his 30 years of illustrious military career, Colonel Pak concluded his final assignments at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies as the Academic Chief of Staff/Senior Military Professor and later the Chief, Executive Operations Group. Colonel Pak is fluent in both Korean and Japanese with basic knowledge in Chinese and Malay languages.
His awards and decorations include Defense Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Medal and both Airborne and Ranger badges.
Colonel Yeong-Tae Pak and his wife, Yeong-Ae, (Opera Singer) have two children: Jason (21) a Lieutenant in the Army and Sarah (18) an AFROTC cadet at James Madison University.