After my original transportation plans fell though at the last minute, a group of kind JCW fans from the Philippines offered me an extra seat on their minibus specifically hired for the trip to Cheorwon, which is approximately 85km north of Seoul (and a mere 5km south of the DMZ). We left Hongdae bright and early in the cold morning.
After a quick pit stop, we arrived at the Main Gate of the White Skull Division, which of course required many pictures for the van crew who had not made the trip back on 14 August 2017 for Wook’s initial enlistment into the Baekgol Unit.
After a couple of wrong turns due to insufficient instructions, we finally arrived at the 5th Artillery Brigade 8726’s entrance just in time, where several groups of fans and the press corps were already assembled awaiting the return to civilian life of Actor Ji Chang Wook.
Many fan group banners lined the roadway right outside of the Brigade’s entrance.
There was a long tunnel separating the base quarters itself from the areas where fans were lining, as was a large black van to shuttle Wook and his handlers away after the discharge was finalized.
After what seemed like ages, we could see Ji Chang Wook off in the distance waving farewell to his fellow army recruits, and then he began to walk through the tunnel leading to the fans breathlessly awaiting his appearance!
[Due to time constraints, we are unable to translate our videos at this time.]
Hearing prior reports from Glorious Entertainment, we were all expecting a very quick ceremony, with Wook merely announcing that Recruit 204 Ji Chang Wook was now officially discharged from his duties with the Republic of Korea Army. But the crowd was unexpectedly greeted by a gentleman provided by the ROK Military Entertainment Unit (turned out to be a reporter from SBS Entertainment) who would be emceeing Wook’s discharge ceremony *plus* having him answer questions from the press corps assembled!
Amazingly looking more handsome than the day he originally enlisted, the now 32-year-old (Korean age) Ji Chang Wook was lobbed the question of “How do you feel right now?” was answered with a “It really has not sunken in yet. Maybe tomorrow it finally will. I want to eat a delicious meal now.”
The time came for Wook to verbally announce his official discharge from military service, and started in with the script… only to flub his lines and needing to start over again. His first NG in a long time, and we were there to witness it!
Asked how he was able to get through his military service, Wook stated that he was grateful to be able to share the stage with Kang Ha Neul for the first time in 10 years, and that he also got closer to Kim Sung Kyu through the musical. He also gave his thanks to his other fellow cast members of “Shinheung Military School” of Lee Jin Ki (Onew), Ko Eun Sung, Kim Min Ho and his other friends. “My time in the military was both meaningful and comfortable, and I am grateful for all of my friends that helped during this time.”
And just like that, the event came to an end. Wook tried to return to the awaiting van for his departure, but true to form, many fans took the opportunity to rush over to deliver gifts for the long ride back to Seoul.