A vicious and senseless attack on the Large-scale naval exercises are believed to have prompted a vicious attack on the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, who is a naval officer, came as five U.S. warships arrived there for annual naval exercises.
Lt. Mark Lippert, a Reserve intelligence officer, was slashed in the face and hand Thursday by a 55-year-old South Korean man, sending Lippert to the hospital. His wounds required more than two 2 hours of surgery and overmore than 80 stitches.
Lippert tweeted out early Thursday morning that he was alive and well, and "in great spirits." Lippert also said he would be heading back to work promptly.
"Will be back ASAP to advance US-[Republic of Korea] alliance!" he said.
The attacker is believed to have been disturbedprompted by joint, US-ROK exercises known as Foal Eagle and Key Resolve. According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, The destroyers Michael Murphy, John S. McCain and Lassen, along with the littoral combat ship Fort Worth and the rescue and salvage ship Salvor, are in South Korea for Foal Eagle.
Lippert, 42, was attacked at a breakfast meeting in Seoul. The incident was condemned by Secretary of State John Kerry, who spoke to reporters on a trip to Saudi Arabia.
"The United States of America will never be intimidated or deterred by threats, or by anyone who harms any American diplomat," Kerry said, according to multiple news agencies.
South Korean women supporting the US hold placard reading 'South Korea-US relationship is solid,' outside a hospital where US Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert was taken following a razor attack, in Seoul on March 5, 2015. Lippert was recovering from surgery after being slashed on his face and arm in Seoul on March 5, by a blade-wielding activist opposed to ongoing US-Korean military drills.
Photo Credit: UNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images
As to Lippert's condition, Kerry said: "He's as good as can be expected, his spirit is strong. He tends to soldier on, or as he said to me, sailor on."
Lippert is a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and has served as an intelligence officer with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, better known as SEAL Team 6Six, according to his official biography.
He is a recipient the Bronze Star Medal, as well as the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.