As reported by Star and Stripes on May 19, DAY6’s Young K, alias Kang Young-Hyun, a KATUSA (Korean Augmentation to the US Army), earned the Eighth Army’s Best Warrior Competition prize. The tournament lasted six days and included many aspects that challenged a soldier’s mental and physical limitations, such as small weapons qualifications, terrain navigation, and obstacle courses.
Young K triumphed against 49 US and KATUSA troops competing for the title of Best Warrior. The Best Warrior and Squad Competition for the 2022 Eighth Army Competition were conducted from May 8 to May 13. The results were just published, and the You Were Beautiful singer was chosen as Best Warrior.
Young K of DAY6 talks about earning Best Warrior as a KATUSA soldier.
Young K, a member of JYP Entertainment’s band DAY6, made news when he announced his intention to join the KATUSA. The singer became the first K-pop star to serve in the highly coveted KATUSA, a component of the Republic of Korea army that deploys South Korean troops to US army locations. The Zombie vocalist, who also works as a bassist, rapper, and composer and has over 149 song credits on KOMCA, has won Army’s Best Warrior 2022 after participating in arduous tests against 49 US and KATUSA troops.
Some of the activities that the troops were assessed on included an eight-mile march, survival abilities, and knot-tying evaluations. Speaking to Stars and Stripes, an American military news site, about the tournament, the K-pop star said that a non-commissioned officer pushed him to partake in the events back in April. He made the decision to participate the same night he talked with the officer. The K-pop singer also discussed his military aspirations, stating that one of his goals while completing his mandatory service was to get healthy.
“That night, I made a choice. Since my sole aim in the Army was to have a healthier physique, to create a better one, because I didn’t take care of [it] previously.”
Despite his victory, the K-pop star spoke about the difficulties he endured and his inadequacies.
“There were some glitches.” There were moments when I was on the verge of collapsing, but being able to overcome my limitations… gave me greater confidence in myself — believing in myself — and believing that I, too, can achieve other things.”
The DAY6 member also mentioned the honour of serving as a KATUSA soldier. For a variety of reasons, the KATUSA branch is widely wanted. According to a November 2021 story in The Korea Herald, life is a little simpler for KATUSA troops. They may leave their postings on weekdays; unlike previous conscriptions, troops normally reside in couples or alone, leaving no potential for hazing and abuse (a rampant part of military service). Getting into a KATUSA branch is also difficult. Draftees must pass one of many English language examinations. Following the testing, KATUSA selects a number of troops using a lottery mechanism.