The Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance Friendship Association presented a Korean name to Col. Stephen H. Bales, commander and district engineer of the Far East District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at a ceremony at the Korea Ministry of National Defense on Nov. 19.
The name Bales received was Kim, Sin-yu, which carries a specific symbolic significance, according to Ms. Woo Hyun-euy, the association’s chairwoman.
The family name of “Kim” means to be a person as valuable as gold and as strong as iron. “Kimhae” was the chosen origin of the family name, and now Col. Bales shares the family name of Gen. Yusin Kim, the former commanding general of Silla, Woo said.
The first name, “Sin-yu,”is a combination of two Chinese characters Sin and Yu. The first character, Sin, means “new,” signifies someone who displays wisdom to achieve a significant goal to become a great leader, and also gain respect from others by completing important missions. The second character, Yu, means “to connect,” refers to a person with knowledge and virtue who will achieve success through interpersonal relationships. A person with this name will obtain the trust of supervisors and show outstanding leadership skills to subordinates.
Bales was presented with a plaque bearing his Korean name, “Kim, Sin-yu” and its meaning, emphasizing the continued efforts of the U.S. Forces Korea relocation projects and strengthening of the alliance between the Republic of Korea and the United States.
After this presentation, Bales thanked Chairwoman Woo and the association for this honor. Noting the symbolism of his Korean name, Bales explained its personal significance to the audience.
“The first name of Sin-Yu, meaning “new” and “to connect” appropriately defines my responsibilities as the new commander of the Far East District,” Bales said. “It will be my duty to ensure the Far East District closely supports and enables our partners in the ROK Ministry of Defense and United States Forces Korea.”
Bales mentioned the lasting strength of the alliance, and comparing his current tour with the first he’d served in Korea more than 23 years ago, as a platoon leader in the 44th Engineer Battalion. Much has changed in the years since his first assignment in Korea, he said, such as Korea’s economic growth into the 11th biggest and one of the most technologically advanced in the world. But what hasn’t changed is the steadfast partnership between our two militaries and countries. In fact, few alliances in history have proven as effective as ours. We truly have no better partners than those here in the Republic of Korea, Bales said.
“As we move forward with the Yongsan and Korea Relocation Plans,” Bales said, “I give you my personal assurance that all of our projects will stand strong, just as our great Alliance has stood strong for over sixty years.”
The Far East District is currently expanding U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys into the largest U.S. Army garrison in Asia. As the commander of the Far East District, Bales has oversight for this entire construction project.