The recent tragedy involving the death of a trainee once again sheds light on the toxic competitiveness ingrained in Korean military culture, perpetuating the erosion of humanity. The competitive nature of military training, exemplified by practices like first-come, first-served full military gear running, exacerbates the already intense pressure on recruits. In this environment, individual achievements are prioritized over collective teamwork, fostering a culture where self-esteem is contingent upon outperforming others.

Moreover, the deeply rooted societal emphasis on success and achievement amplifies the psychological toll of such competitions. Trainees feel compelled to push themselves beyond their limits, often at the expense of their physical and mental well-being. This relentless pursuit of excellence fosters an environment where trainees are pitted against each other, eroding trust and cooperation among peers.

In the tragic aftermath of incidents like this, it becomes increasingly evident that the competitive ethos permeating Korean military culture not only jeopardizes the safety and well-being of trainees but also undermines their fundamental humanity. It is imperative for institutions to address this toxic competitiveness and prioritize the cultivation of a supportive and collaborative training environment that values the dignity and welfare of every individual.

“In addition to the above, let’s elaborate on the immense difficulty of running while wearing full military gear. Imagine a typical scenario where a trainee, who has only been in training for less than 9 days, is tasked with carrying a minimum of 40kg, often ranging from 40-50kg, of full military gear. This includes a heavy backpack, helmet, body armor, weapon, and other essential equipment. Now, on top of this physical burden, they are required to sprint and compete to be among the first to reach the designated finish line.

Carrying such a heavy load not only strains the body but also tests the mental and emotional resilience of the trainee. The weight distribution makes movements cumbersome and exhausting, leading to fatigue and discomfort within minutes of starting the run. Furthermore, the added pressure of competing against peers for a coveted position exacerbates the already challenging situation.

For a trainee who is still adjusting to the rigors of military training, this task becomes overwhelming and potentially hazardous. The risk of injury due to the strain on muscles and joints is significantly heightened, and the mental toll of feeling inadequate or incapable of keeping up with others can be detrimental to their morale.

In summary, the combination of carrying heavy gear and participating in a competitive race places an unreasonable burden on inexperienced trainees, jeopardizing not only their physical well-being but also their confidence and sense of belonging within the military community.”