Let me take this opportunity to remind folks that the South Korean law that requires all able-bodied males to serve a mandatory two years of military service is not to purely an exercise in turning boys-into-men. It serves as a glaring reminder that the Korean peninsula is at war, even if the for the past 60 years there has been a cease fire armistice (which that chubby dictator up North just unilaterally declared void last week, but that’s a whole another basket of crazy). South Korean men serve in the army because there is a very real likelihood they will need to defend their country, so its with even more consternation to see kids just out of high school shave off their hair, don fatigues, and march in formation carrying a gun. The first pictures of 19 year old Yoo Seung Ho in his first week of army service have been released (with everyone’s faces blurred out for privacy since they are all private citizens), and the first thought going through my head is that he’s such a baby! How dare the Korean government put such baby boys in combat action and put a gun in their hands. But then I chalk it up to my having watched Yoo Seung Ho grow up before my eyes and really needing to wrap my mind around his entering the cusp of adulthood in what feels like the blink of an eye. These pictures were snapped at the induction ceremony for the new recruits, with Yoo Seung Ho repeating the oath of service, performing the ceremonial gun exchange ceremony, and lining up with his same class brethren. Looks like he’ll be serving in the army infantry division, as opposed to air force, navy, or even the marines, and he’s also made it known that he wants to skip the entertainment division that is available in each of the departments. I’m sure the army will find a way to parade him around nevertheless, because what better publicity for them than a bright-eyed sweet-smiled young man that perfectly represents the age group of young men serving their mandatory service.