Harford County Taekwondo school receives Award of Appreciation from U.S. Army

Pictured (from left to right): Master CJ Chang, Anabella Santana, Alex Santana, Martha Santana, Major Edgar Santana, Grandmaster Se Yong Chang, Master Jennifer Chang, Master Julia Chang, Mr. James Kim

The local U.S. Taekwondo Academy in Bel Air was recently presented with a United States flag flown over Kabul, Afghanistan in honor of the school, in part, for its help making the deployment of one Harford County father a little easier on his family. Here are the details:


Harford County Taekwondo School Receives Award of Appreciation from U.S. Army

BEL AIR, Maryland (November 12, 2012) – U.S. Taekwondo Academy (USTA) has recently been presented with a United States flag as a gesture of appreciation. The American Flag was flown over Kabul, Afghanistan in honor of the U.S. Taekwondo Academy and the Chang family during Operation Enduring Freedom on September 11, 2012. The Chang family owns and operates the U.S. Taekwondo Academy.


The flag represents the will and resolve of the American people to protect those who cannot protect themselves and to stand strong and defeat all who attempt to bring us harm.The plaque was signed by Daniel L. Steward, CSM, US NSE Command Sergeant Major and Alan T. Lindley, LTC, US NSE – Commander.


Major Edgar O. Santana, father of Anabella and Alex Santana, was deployed to Afghanistan for several months. His wife and two children stayed behind in Maryland, where they currently reside. Without their husband and father, the family did their best to live normal, healthy lives. Both children are students of U.S. Taekwondo Academy. Anabella, in particular, is very involved with USTA as a student, athlete of the elite competition team called Team Chang, as a summer camp assistant, after school program assistant and special events volunteer. She has become part of the USTA family.


Major Edgar appreciated the support and love received by the U.S. Taekwondo Academy and made preparations for the American Flag to be flown over Kabul, Afghanistan on September 11. He returned to American soil in October, when the flag and plaque were presented to the Chang family.


“During my time deployed, the U.S. Taekwondo Academy really reached out to my family,” Major Santana added.“Keeping them involved in the after school mentor program, summer camp and trips to amusement parks helped keep their mind off me being deployed. It really helped keep them active and allowed me to focus on my mission in Afghanistan.”


The flag and plaque presentation was received by Grandmaster Se Yong Chang, the Chang family and U.S. Taekwondo Academy Masters. Grandmaster Chang especially appreciated it because he served in the Korean and U.S. Army years ago. He served as as a Combat Police Instructor in Korea and served in the US Army from 1983-1987, having received several awards, such as Army Achievement medals, a Good Conduct medal and an Army Commendation medal. He also performed a Taekwondo demonstration for the then Vice President George W. Bush, Sr.


Master CJ Chang said, “Major Santana came in and explained to our class the symbolism and importance of the flag being flown over Afghanistan. I know I was moved, but my father was especially moved.”


U.S. Taekwondo Academy (www.USTAchang.com) is a family-owned and operated Taekwondo chain with locations in Bel Air, MD, Churchville, MD, Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University, and Fairfax, VA. USTA offers high-caliber Taekwondo instruction to students of all ages: children, teens, adults and families. It was founded by Grandmaster Se Yong Chang in 1982.