After pirate rescue, applications for Navy jump

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After pirate rescue, applications for Navy jump

The number of young men applying to join the Navy’s special forces rose to a record level following a naval commando team’s daring raid on Somali pirates last month to free a hijacked South Korean ship, a report said yesterday.

Korean Navy special forces stormed the 11,500-ton Samho Jewelry seized by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 21, rescuing all 21 crew members.

A total of 184 applicants applied for 52 openings this year on the Navy’s elite Underwater Demolition Team, according to the report submitted to Rep. Song Young-sun of the Future Hope Alliance by the Military Manpower Administration.

The UDT received the highest number of applications since the administration started tallying the number for the Navy special forces in 2005, the report said.

The competition ratio of 3.5 to 1 this year marked the second highest since 2009, when the ratio stood at 3.6 to 1. However, there were only 30 openings in 2009, according to the report.

In a statement, Song attributed the rise in applicants for the Navy special forces to what she calls the “successful rescue operation.”

Eight pirates were killed and five were captured in the operation code-named “Dawn of the Gulf of Aden.” The Korean captain of the hijacked ship was seriously wounded, but none of the other crew was injured.

All physically and mentally fit young Korean men must serve in the military for at least two years. The compulsory draft system only affects the Army, while the Navy and the Air Force recruit their service members through a volunteer system.

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