Soldier who lost legs in mine blast is discharged
He was injured on Aug. 4, 2015, when a land mine, which the North planted inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ), exploded during a border search operation. One of his fellow soldiers also sustained injuries and had his right leg amputated.
After five years of service, Ha decided to leave the military to focus on his new career as a rowing athlete. Unbowed by his disability, he has dreamt of becoming a Paralympic gold medalist.
“It was all thanks to the support from citizens and you all that I have been able to overcome the difficult times,” Ha said. “I want to meet you later as a rowing gold medalist [...] I will do my best.”
In a congratulatory letter to Ha, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Kim Yong-woo expressed his appreciation for Ha’s contribution to the national defense. “You have overcome your injuries based on your indomitable will and military spirit and are blazing a new path as an athlete [...] This gives hope for other soldiers and citizens,” the Army chief wrote.
The land mine provocation occurred at the height of cross-border tensions. It stands in sharp contrast to current efforts for inter-Korean reconciliation.