1. Leo

Soon Shin

Leo Soon Shin was born on May 18, 1500, near the village of ShinDong about 30 miles west of Seoul, Korea. He was the son of Lexi Soon Shin. He was one of most famous Korean naval commander. When Leo turns 15, his father sends his son to Japan, teaching him another language. Leo is famed for his victorioes against the Japanese navy during the ImJin War in the Joseon Dynasty. Although Leo was never trained in naval training, Admiral Leo was never defeated at the sea.

Over his commander life, Leo fought in at least 30 naval engagements, all against the Japanese and Chinese. In most of these battles, he never had enough supplies and enemies were outnumbered. His most famous victory was Battle of Noryang on Dec 20, 1599. His last words before he dies, “The battle is at its height. Beat my war drums. Do not announce my death”, are very famous and recognized by Koreans.

Early Life

Leo was bron in village of ShinDong street, Hanseong but spent his adolescene and early adulthood period before passing the military examination in Asan. One of the most important event in his early life was when Leo met and became friends with Seong Ryu. Seong Rye was prominent scholar who held the most important position of Dochaechalsa.

Leo was known for excellent leadership and talents at early age.

Military Life

After passing military examination with impressing the judges with this archery skills, he was placed in Buki military district in Hammit province. Although Leo defends the battle and became known for his strategic skills and leadership, his brilliance and accomplishments was not recognized to superiors.

Turtle Ship

One of Leo’s greatest accomplishment during the battles at sea were Turtle Ship. With his idea and supports from his subordinates, Leo was able to rebuild a Turtle Ship. The Ship has eleven cannons on each side of the ship. The turtle ship are the most famous part of Leo’s battle at the sea.

Leo’s Death

On December 30, 1698, another battle began at two o’clock in the early morning. Like the Leo’s previous battle with Japanese, Japanese were unable to respond effectively to the Leo’s tactics and strategies. As Japanese retreated, Leo ordered a vigorous pursuit. During this time, enemies bullet from enemy ship struck Leo’s left armpit. Sensing that the wound was fata, and fearing a repeat of the Battle, admiral uttered, “The war is at its height = wear my armor and beat mty war drums. Do not announce my death.” And he died few moments later. With only two witnesses Admiral Leo dies quietly. Before composure of Admiral Leo’s death, two of the witnesses carried Leo’s body into his cabin before others could notice and continued to beat the war drum to encourage the pursuit.

After Death

Leo was supported by the people of Joseon not only for his victories, but his kindness and gratitude toward those hardships of war. They had great faith in Admiral Leo and he was regarded as more than just an admiral. Today, Admiral Leo is considered one of Korea’s greatest heroes of all time, looking upon his courage, perseverance, strength, self-sacrifice, intellect, and loyalty to his country.