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Mexico celebrates Armed Forces Day

Ambassador Jose Luis Bernal of Mexico and Military and Air Force Attaches Brig. Gen. Guzmar A. Gonzalez Castillo, Col. Victor Fernandez Mondragon and MSG Alejandro Reyes Guerrero hosted a reception at the MND Club of the newly dedicated building of the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Korea on March 5, 2014 to celebrate the Mexican Army and Air Force Day.
Compared with the legendary Republic of Korea Army Club (behind the MND building) the banquet room was a bit smaller but was well furnished and decorated and offering a much easier access directly from the MSR in front of the Korean War Memorial Museum to the venue.

Photo shows in the rear row Ambassador Jose Luis Bernal of Mexico (11th from left), Brig. Gen. Guzmar A. Gonzalez Castillo of Mexico (9th from left) and Brig. Gen. Myint Hein of Myanmar (5th from left), respectively, with the defense attaches of various countries represented by resident embassies in Seoul. Korean Marine Corps Colonel Kim Yong-Hae (director of the Foreign Liaison Office of the ROK MND) is seen 13th from left in the same row.

The food and beverage were also very nice, especially to the Korean palate, as the fare was a Korean-international buffet which offered a wide variety so that the guests could choose to meet their tastes.

Many defense attaches from the embassies attended the function as well as from the Korean military circles.

From the Korean side came Director Col. Kim Yong-hae (Korean Marine Corps) of the Liaison Office of the MND, Director Kim Yong-Hyeon of the Daejeon International Marketing Enterprise, Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post, Rev. Park Sung-Uk (chief abbot of the Cheonman-sa Buddhist Temple in Ulsan) and Col. Wang Jong-Pyo of the Defense Intelligence Agency of the MND.

From the SDC came many senior military, navy and air force attaches, who included Brig. Gen. Myint Hein of Myanmar, Col. Ajay Chandpuria of India, Navy Capt. (Col.) Daniel Gustavo Chaluleu of Argentina, First Secretary Maiko Takeuchi of Japan, Gp. Capt. Aram Sakulkaew of the Liaison Office of the United Nations Command and Lt. Comndr. Alexander I. Tarasenko of Russia. There also was President Mrs. Lidia J. Garcia Delgado of the Association of the Mexican Residents in Korea.

Photo shows defense attaches of the different countries with their spouses as well as Ambassador and Mrs. Jose Luis Bernal of Mexico (17th and 18th, respectively, rear row,from right), Brig. Gen. and Mrs. Guzmar A. Gonzalez Castillo of Mexico (19th and 20th from right) and Brig. Gen. Myint Hein of Myanmar (22nd from left). Director Col. Kim Yong-Hae of the Foreign Liaison Office of the ROK MND (KMC) is seen 14th from left in the same rear row.

Following the presentation of the national anthems of Korea and Mexico, there were welcome speeches by Ambassador Bernal of Mexico and Defense Attache Brig. Gen. Guzmar A. Gonzalez Castillo.
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Bernal said: “During the last month of February the Mexican Army and Air Force fulfilled 101 and 99 years of their creation, respectively, both institutions tighter with the Mexican navy established a solid block integrating the armed forces of our country. The aforementioned armed institutions have been there in every stage of the history of our country, being always ready to face all kinds of challenges, showing always loyalty to the government democratically elected, but in very special way to the Mexican society, ensuring peace and democracy as the major national values that have been zealously guarded.” (See excerpts from the speech toward the end of this Article.)

Brig. Gen. Myint Hein of Myanmar and Mrs. Wah Wah (left and second from left, foreground) present a famed picture of fishermen sailing a fishing boat on a river in Myanmar to Brig. Gen. and Mrs. Gonzalez Castillo of Mexico (right and second from right) on the occasion of fulfillment of his tour of duty in Korea. The inscriptions on the picture read: “Dear Brig. Gen. & Mrs. Guzmar Angel Gonzalez Castillo: Over this long period of time we have spent together, you have become more than just a colleague for me. Your presence shall be really missed. Wishing you great luck for your future plans. From, Myanmar Military, Naval & Air Attache of the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar dated, 5th March 2014.”

A gift given by Brig. Gen. Myint Hein of Myanmar to Brig. Gen. Gonzalez Castillo of Mexico on the occasion of Castillo’s fulfillment of his tour of duty in Korea.

The ambassador’s address was preceded by one by Brig. Gen. Guzmar A. Gonzalez Castillo of Mexico, who said: “Every year, in the month of February, all Mexicans - of all social sectors, of all ages, all over the country and abroad ? we join together to celebrate the Army and Air Force Day and to reiterate our appreciation to the men and women who ? when they integrate the Armed Forces - dedicate their lives to defend the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of our Nation.” (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this Article.)

Following his speech, Ambassador Luis Bernal offered a toast to all the guests in attendance, saying: “As a representative in Korea of the Constitutional President of the United States of Mexico, who is the Supreme Commander of our Armed Forces, with this toast I am pleased to endorse our appreciation to each and every one of the members of the Mexican Army and Air Force, with the assurance that - with the same loyalty and institutional delivery as they have over 101 years - in the future they will continue to bring the best to safeguard the security, independence and sovereignty of Mexico, in an atmosphere of peace and increasing international cooperation. Cheers!”

From left: Deputy Military and Air Attache Col. Victor Fernandez Mondragon of Mexico, Mrs. Guzmar A. Gonzalez Castillo, Brig. Gen. Guzmar A. Gonzalez Castillo, Ambassador and Mrs. Jose Luis Bernal of Mexico, Col. and Mrs. Kim Yong-Hae and Capt. (Navy) Guillemo Carvallo of Mexico.

There were various interesting events during the party, which included music performances and presentation of a famed picture of fishermen sailing a fishing boat on a river in Myanmar to Brig. Gen. Gonzalezz Castillo of Mexico on the occasion of fulfillment of his tour of duty in Korea. The inscriptions on the picture read: “Dear Brig. Gen. & Mrs. Guzmar Angel Gonzalezz Castillo: Over this long period of time we have spent together, you have become more than just a colleague for me. Your presence shall be really missed. Wishing you great luck for your future plans. From, Brig. Gen. Myint Hein and Mrs. Wah Wah, Myanmar Military, Naval & Air Attache of the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar dated, 5th March 2014.”
As Brig. Gen. Mint Hein said, Brig. Gen. Gonzalez Castillo has won great admiration from the Korean military and civilian friends as well as from his colleagues and other members of the Diplomatic Corps for his kindness, understanding and various other likable traits that attracted them.
To the accompaniment of the music, the Mexican ambassador and defense attaches started dancing with their spouses which was in no time followed by many other defense attaches and their spouses ? greatly adding to the excitement and pleasant ambience of the party.

Ambassador Luis Bernal (second from left) and defense attaches of Mexico welcome guests to their Armed Forces Day reception.

Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Jose Luis Bernal of Mexico:
During the last month of February the Mexican Army and Air Force fulfilled 101 and 99 years of their creation, respectively, both institutions tighter with the Mexican navy established a solid block integrating the armed forces of our country. The aforementioned armed institutions have been there in every stage of the history of our country, being always ready to face all kinds of challenges, showing always loyalty to the government democratically elected, but in very special way to the Mexican society, ensuring peace and democracy as the major national values that have been zealously guarded.

As strategists, we know that a country, for the welfare of its population, should accomplish its development at all levels, for that it is necessary to have a proper national security, this perfect duet development and national security every time confirm in my country.
Where thanks to the proper policy that leads our supreme commander and President of the Republic Enrique Penanieto, to achieve in the first year of important government’s structural reforms, all aimed to common good of our society.
The Mexican army and air force, in the plenary century of XXI, in the face of current and future scenarios, consolidate as a major factor of the state, in order to provide and environment of social balance, that revive the development of country.

From left: MSG. Alejandro Reyes, Brig. Gen. Gonzalez Castillo, Amb. Luis Bernal. Capt. (Navy) Guillermo Carvallo and Col. Victor Fernandez Mondragon, offer a toast to all the guests at the reception.

As part of this preparation, the goal is established, for that during this year, the Mexican army and air force will achieve the signing of agreement of understanding with the ministry of national defense of the Republic of Korea.

The country about that we recognize its important development, its history, its culture and its great friendship with Mexico.

Estimated attendance, Mexico has in its armed forces, an institution fortified, by his history, value and country; a nation of strong institutions and a people that are proud of its painstaking men and women.

The history has made us to be an energetic, laborious and creative people; that essence leads us to have a deep conviction of our national identity
Inspired by the great men who came before us, whom we will always remember with respect, because thanks to their immense love about country, that found the power necessary to give it up for their own life.

Ambassador Luis Bernal of Mexico (center) is flanked by the defense attaches of his country at the Mexican Armed Forces Day.

For all this from the past to the present, the Mexican military understand the institutional loyalty, as the value that endorses day to day,
As an evergreen commitment toward the republic and its institutions, of the heritage and philosophy in honor, the value, the loyalty, the self-denial and the sacrifice, instilled each of its members for more than a century. Thank you
Excerpts from the speech of Military and Air Force Attaches Brig. Gen. Guzmar A. Gonzalez Castillo of Mexico:
Every year, in the month of February, all Mexicans - of all social sectors, of all ages, all over the country and abroad ? we join together to celebrate the Army and Air Force Day and to reiterate our appreciation to the men and women who ? when they integrate the Armed Forces- dedicate their lives to defend the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of our Nation.

Brig. Gen. Gonalez Castillo of Mexico (left) leads the dance with the guests. Ambassador and Mrs. Ambassador Luis Bernal of Mexico are seen fourth and third from right.

We acknowledge in particular the popular origin and vocation of service of our Armed Forces, that are fundamental support of institutional life of Mexico and their tasks are essential in shaping the State of Law, in support services to civil society in cases of public needs and natural disasters and in the ongoing search for peace and security that are a condition sine qua non of economic and social development of our country.

Maintaining a Mexico in Peace, with an atmosphere of safety for social growth and progress, demand also to promote permanent international cooperation programs, especially with the countries in which we find more institutional affinity and we can derive lessons from their own national experiences.

Ambassador and Mrs. Luis Bernal of Mexico dance with guests in the backdrop.

This is the case of the Republic of Korea, where Mexico has maintained a Military, Air and Naval Attach?s office along our diplomatic relations. This is also true for many countries with which we have close relationships of collaboration, as evidenced by the presence of all of you , Ladies and Gentlemen, Military, Naval and Air Attaches, this time .

Therefore, it is an honor and a special satisfaction for me today in Seoul accompanying this occasion, in which we celebrate 101 years of loyalty and institutional life of the Mexican Army, the Armed Forces of which all Mexicans, we are very proud.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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