SEOUL, Jul. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — The commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Korea will receive an honorary Korean name from a pro-alliance group here in recognition of his dedicated service, South Korea’s Navy said Wednesday.
Rear. Adm. Brad Cooper will be formally given the new name — Goo Tae-il — at a joint military band concert to be held in Busan later in the day.
It’s to celebrate the 65th founding anniversary of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Fleet Command headquartered in the southern port city and the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Naval Forces Korea, also based there.
The surname Goo sounds similar to Cooper and it means turtle in the Chinese character, according to the ROK-U.S. Alliance Friendship Association.
The word was chosen to refer to the popular turtle ship made by Yi Sun-shin, a legendary Korean admiral of the 16th century, it added.
The first name, Tae-il, means great or big and the sun as well, said the nonprofit organization.
Cooper began his duty as the leader of U.S. naval forces in Korea in September last year.
“Serving here in Busan shoulder-to-shoulder with our ROK Navy teammates is the privilege of a lifetime. The ROK-U.S. Navy alliance is ironclad,” he said in a statement.
“Today, I am so proud to say that our relationship has never been stronger. I believe that this honor of a Korean name reflects the strength of our great partnership.”
He added, “As we look forward to a bright future together, I hold my new name close to my heart and commit deeply to advancing our great friendship and partnership to new heights!”
He is the first U.S. Naval Forces Korea official to get a Korean name from the association.
In the symbolic program, launched 12 years ago, it has given Korean names to former U.S. President Barack Obama (Oh Han-ma), U.S. Forces Korea Commanding General Vincent K. Brooks (Park Yoo-jong) and 30 other high-profile American figures.