One of the most stressful days of boot camp was when we were being tested on guard procedures. The problem was that it required me to speak in Korean. At the time, even saying my trainee number and name was a tongue twister, and my pronunciation of that was mocked constantly by the jogyo and other recruits. Tasks like marching, crawling through the mud, or bayonet training were much preferable because, although they left my body in tatters, they left my self-esteem relatively intact.

We were taught the procedures through a series of lectures, and I wrote down what was on the poster boards but not much else. The language used when on guard is language never used in any other situation. I remember spending a lot of time trying to figure out if choso was a person, place, or thing. On top of that, one of the primary lectures was interrupted by a berating of Squad Leader Lee by a senior squad leader, which then led to physical punishment for the rest of the lecture so that Squad Leader Lee could blow off steam.

I was spared on the day of the training because I’m short and was thus placed at the back of the line. Squad Leader Lee was taking his sweet time mercilessly tormenting each pair of recruits in my squad, and we ran out of time before my turn came up. It was a small mercy because I still had no confidence every time I stood guard up until the end of my term of service. If I had been stationed at the front, I probably would’ve ended up having to shoot somebody because I couldn’t spit out the commands in time.

My notes on the procedures were so atrocious that somebody had to completely re-write them for me. If you can read Korean, you can tell he dumbed down the language for me, and in places, he wrote simpler versions of the needlessly complicated language.


6 stages of guard procedures for personnel
1. Put your hands up! Move and I’ll shoot!
2. Challenge/password
3. Who are you?
4. What is your business?
5. Take 3 or 5 steps forward
6. Final confirmation

Guard procedures for vehicles
1. Stop!
2. Turn off your lights!
3. Turn off the engine!
4. Driver, exit the vehicle!
5. (Transfer to procedures for personnel)


ex) Drunk civilian
Cho – 3737, this is [guard post name]
Shi – The current time is 1440.
Jang – 100 meters in front of the guard post
Nae – [someone] is approaching the guard post
Requesting immediate measures (advisory steps).

This is apparently a mnemonic for remembering the steps for reporting when somebody suspicious is approaching the guard post. Choshijangnae was not helpful for me at all. Cho probably stands for choso, which I’m now pretty sure means guard post. Shi is probably short for shigan, time, and I assume that jang is short for jangso (place) and nae is short for naeyong (content).

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3 Responses to Suha

  1. bighominid says:

    Testing. Testing. One. Two. Three.


  2. bighominid says:

    So, yeah—your post is titled “Suha,” but I didn’t see any mention of the word in the post itself, although I think I saw the hangeul phrase appear twice in one of the photos. What does “suha” mean? “Guarding,” “guard duty,” or something similar?


    • Young says:

      I actually had to do some research on this one when I was writing the book. For me, “suha” (actually, “suha yoryeong”) always meant guard procedures because that’s what I understood from context. Apparently, “suha” comes from the characters for “hand” and “beneath,” and it means something like being under one’s control or command.


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