|SGT Medina, Un Kim, SGT Laboy
2005 Army TKD Team
|Armed Forces Taekwondo Hall of Honor
This website is dedicated to all coaches and athletes around the world. I am also very honored and thankful to my friends Coach Bobby Clayton, Coach Bruce Harris,
Mr. Pedro Laboy, Coach Bonseok Kim, Mr. Paul Boltz, Ms. Claudia Berwager and Col. Thomas A. Allmon to dedicated many years of their lives to develop Taekwondo
into the U.S. Armed Forces sport program.
Sincerely, Coach Rafael Medina
|Armed Forces Taekwondo Hall of Honor
Coaches recognized by the Armed Forces
Bruce Harris: 1987-1994 Army and Armed Forces
Bobby Clayton: 1995- Army and Armed Forces
1997- Army and Armed Forces
Rafael Medina: 1996-2000 Army and Armed Forces
Michael Bennett: 1998- Army
Bonseok Kim: 1998- Armed Forces
2001-2003 Army and Armed Forces
2005-2006 Army and Armed Forces
2008 Army and Armed Forces
2007-2018 CISM Taekwondo President
Hun Suk Lee: 2001-2003 Army and Armed Forces
Kevin Williams: 2004 Army and Armed Forces
2011-2013 Army and Armed Forces
Brad Carter: 2006 Air Force and Armed Forces
2008 Air Force and Armed Forces
Curtis Brown 2001 Air Force and Armed Forces
Elizabeth Evan 2002 Armed Forces
Ridenour Rachel 1996 Army
2000 Army and Armed Forces
Patrice Remarck 2008 Armed Forces
Many sports will keep soldiers in top physical condition if the soldier maintains the sport as a serious business, but to be one of the best takes
time and a lot of discipline. The task of being a soldier and an athlete is not an easy task. You must get up early in the morning and get
ready for PT, maintain your job skills and perform any additional task that lies ahead. Soldiers are soldiers twenty-four hours a day for seven
days, but becoming a soldier and an athlete is two times harder. We must sacrifice our personal and family time to get in top physical
A lot of soldiers studied Taekwondo before us, but as far as I know, they never represented the Army as a team. We took the first step in
making this happen. The Navy and the Air Force started before us. Taekwondo is an excellent sport. I reflect back to 1984 and all the things
we did to try and get support from our Commander. We had to workout at least two hours before PT formation (6:00 am) to prepare for the
State and National Taekwondo Competitions. In 1985 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the Army Taekwondo Team was formed.
We had a vision and in order to accomplish our dream, we had to first prove to the Army (Fort Bragg) that we would represent it with the best
quality of soldiering and athleticism. We had many obstacles in front of us, no support from our commander, company mission, details and
field training exercises, but we were determined to see this through.
April 9, 1976, the International Military Sports Council entered Taekwondo as an event of the games.
1983: USTU President Dr. Dong Ja Yang appointed Air Force Captain Darryl T. Kubotsu and Navy Chief Petty Officer William D. Baldwin to
organize and develop a Taekwondo program for the US military. Only a few military service men new about it. They were on their own, no
military support yet.
1984: Both men were re-appointed by incoming USTU President Master Moo Yong Lee. Through their efforts, the Air Force and Navy were
able to hold their own championships, in parallel to the state Taekwondo Championships. The Air Force, army, and Navy took part in the
11th USTU National Championships held in June at Hartford, Connecticut. The four Air Force and three Navy competitors were joined by a
large contingent of Army athletes from Fort Bragg, and Fort Bevin.
1985 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the Army Taekwondo Team was formed. The athletes to represent Fort Bragg were SPC Pedro Laboy
(heavy weight), SGT Rafael Medina (Bantam weight) and SPC Mark Green (Feather Weight) for the 1985 N.C. State Championship. After
winning three gold medals and being interviewed by the newspaper the doors opened for better opportunities. A week later, all athletes had
the Commander’s consent to practice Tae Kwon Do during the hours of 5:00-6:30 and 1300-1630. Under Mr. Laboy’s instructions, we
continued to work out hard toward our goal, of representing Fort Bragg, in the 11th National Championships. Since the military had no USTU-
certificate referees, it was decided to schedule the First USTU Military Championships in conjunction with a civilian USTU tournament in
On June 8, 1985 Ft. Bragg’s sport department (MWR) sent a group of soldiers TDY to attend the 11th United States Taekwondo Union (USTU)
Championships, in Hartford, Connecticut to represent the Army for the 1st time. The Army athletes were SPC Pedro Laboy (Heavy Weight),
SGT Rafael Medina (Bantam Weight), and SPC Mark Green (Feather Weight). The Second USTU Military Championships was in Nevada.
On April 5, 1986: The following year the Army sent four soldiers, SPC Pedro Laboy (Heavy weight), SGT Rafael Medina (Bantam weight),
SPC Mark Green, and SGT Leo Oledan (Fly Weight) to attend the 12th USTU Championship. Before this time the Department of the Army
(the sport office in Virginia) didn’t recognize Taekwondo as a sport, it was Ft. Bragg’s sport office (MWR) that did so. The funds came from
the left over budget from the boxing team. The uniforms we wore at the competition were black t-shirts with the word ARMY written on the
back. From time to time people asked where the team trained and how was the coach. We didn’t have a coach at this time. We coach and
train each other. At that time SPC Laboy was the point of contact for anything related to Taekwondo since he was on the Puerto Rico
national team Taekwondo.
During the championships, MSG Bruce Harris come to us and proposed to take care and work with the Department of the Army (Sports), to
make Taekwondo an official sport of the Army. He knew allot of questions that needed be answered.
October 1987: The first Armed Forces Team trials were at the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, VA. Head Coach Navy Chief William D.
Balwin and Coach MSG Bruce Harris, along with athletes from the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy came aboard to compete. There were
about 40 to 57 athletes from Taekwondo, Karate and Kung Fu. The competition try outs lasted for three days. It was a round robin bout
qualifying 3 Army soldiers and 1 alternate, 2 Airmen and 3 Navy sailors to participate in the 2nd International Military Sports Counsel
(Counseil International du Sport Militaire) (CISM) Championship in Korea for the first time. SGT Rafael Medina was the only Army soldier to
place, winning a Bronze Medal along with Timothy Tower (Navy) and Melvin Boatner (Air Force).
1988 for the first time ever, Taekwondo was recognized as a trial sport by the Department of the Army, and the Department of sport (Army
Sport Office). Team trials were held at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa. Sport director and coordinator was Mr. Paul Boltz along with head coach
Bruce Harris, liaison for the Department of the Army, sports (MWR). Nothing was easy; coach and athletes had to work hard to show Mr. Boltz
that we were the best athletes (sports) he had ever seen in his life.
During our first training session, Mr. Paul Boltz stated that if you were not in top shape, you would be sent back home. The second week,
Coach Harris was sending athletes back home. The requirements were 1st Dan WTF, proof of U.S. Citizenship and become a member of the
1994, One Team, One Fight motto was establish by Coach Medina. Today this motto is still part of the team’s spirit as it combines the Armed
Forces to one team.
1995, Coach Bobby Clayton led the team to the National Championship. The following year he asked me to be part of his coaching staff
and not to worry because I would get all the knowledge that I needed. My dreams came true. Coach Clayton taught me how to become
one of the best.
1998, United States Armed Forces Taekwondo Team won the team bronze trophy in both the men and women’s division, lead by Head
Coach Rafael Medina.
Today I look at the Army/Armed Forces Team and I see my first competition back in 1985 when Taekwondo was a nightmare. (No show of
support, just similar scenarios). Thanks to Mr. Pedro Laboy, Coach Bruce Harris, Mr. Paul Boltz, Ms. Claudia Berwager, Coach Bobby
Clayton, Coach Bongseok Kim, Coach Michael Bennett, Coach Williams, COL. Thomas A. Allmon, Coach Hun Suk Lee, Coach Elizabeth
Evan, Coach Kevin Williams, Coach Brad Carter, Coach Patrice Remarck, Coach Curtis Brown, Coach Ridenour Rachel, and Coach Rafael
Medina, Coach David Bartlett for keeping the Taekwondo sports program in the Armed Forces.
Note: If you know of a different history of the U.S. Armed Forces Taekwondo, please do not hesitate to send information with any
documentation to prove it. firstname.lastname@example.org .
Coach SFC (R) Rafael Medina
Last Up Date: April 24, 2009
David Bartlett 2009-2010 Army and Armed Forces
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Coach Medina 1972
CISM Records World Military
|2010 Kukkiwond Master Instructors'
Certification Seminar, Tampa, FL
Pedro Laboy 1991 Armed Forces
Jonathan Fennell 2015-2017 Army and Armed Forces