TV heartthrob Hyun Bin finishes six weeks of basic training this week at the Marine boot camp in Pohang and will serve as a combat infantryman in the 6th brigade on Baeknyeong Island in the West Sea. Hyun (29) made headlines when he enlisted in the notoriously tough Marine Corps, but earlier reports said he would be assigned to PR work for the Marines rather than more soldierly duties.
But a meeting of senior officers on Monday decided to assign him to a combat unit. "The decision reflects people's hopes that Hyun Bin will serve as an ordinary combat soldier," a spokesman said.
"I understand that the Marine Corps made the decision after listening to views of lawmakers, retired Marine generals and people from various walks of life who attended events to celebrate the Marine Corps' 62nd anniversary last Friday," an officer said.
Hyun will be on furlough for five days after completing boot camp this Friday. Afterwards, he will be assigned to the 6th Marine Brigade on Baeknyeong Island.
On April 8, the Marine Corps announced a plan to post Hyun to a PR unit at headquarters, while planning to give him special training at the 6th brigade, Yeonpyeong unit, second division in Gimpo.
But critics said that would defeat the object of Hyun's enlistment in the Marines.
In a policy briefing last Thursday, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said, "My personal opinion is that it would be better for him to serve at a frontline unit just like other ordinary soldiers."
Marines are assigned duties through a computer lottery during the last week of their boot camp training, based on their academic background, college majors, special skills, and training records.