Korea Times

Korean colonel cops blast for photos from an infrared surveillance equipment

The officer stood on a billion-won worth of equipment platform to take pictures

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 12:01pm

By Lee Han-soo

A high-ranking army officer has been criticised for standing on valuable U.S. military helicopter equipment aboard the USS Ronald Reagan to take photos during a public opening last month.

The officer, who is a colonel in the Korean Army, was seen on top of an infrared surveillance equipment platform on a Seahawk helicopter.

The Seahawk is a multi-mission helicopter capable of operating anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, search and rescue and medical evacuation.

The infrared surveillance equipment is estimated to be worth a billion won (US$857,000).

The colonel allegedly took pictures in various poses for five minutes, until U.S. Navy officials asked him to stop.

Domestic military experts were angered by the colonel’s behaviour.

“I have never seen a person take a picture on top of an infrared surveillance equipment platform,” a military expert told YTN, a Korean media outlet. “I am embarrassed that this action might reflect poorly on our military level.”

It was also revealed that the officer involved initially reported the helicopter as a Lynx, but revised it to a Seahawk after superiors corrected him.

The officer, who has been criticised for childish behaviour, said his action was unintentional and he did not know the equipment was expensive.

“The picture was taken with permission and it should not be a problem, because the colonel stood on the platform and not the infrared surveillance camera itself,” a Korean Army official said.

But even with the army’s explanation, people are saying the behaviour was inappropriate for a colonel who is in charge of more than a 1,000 soldiers.