Eighth Army commander says future bright for U.S. Army in South Korea
November 1, 2010
- The Eighth Army commanding general said the Republic of Korea-United States Alliance is stronger than ever.
- Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil, Jr., expressed great confidence in the alliance and the men and women who serve in it.
- Eighth Army is transforming from an Army Service Component Command back to its Korean War-era roots as a field army.
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea - The Eighth Army commanding general said the Republic of Korea-United States Alliance is stronger than ever and ready to defend South Korea against any threat or provocation.
Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil, Jr., who will pass the reins of the U.S. Army's top command in South Korea to Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson at a Nov. 9 ceremony, expressed great confidence in the alliance and the men and women who serve in it.
"It's been a very exciting time to be here, to see the resilience of this alliance," said Fil, a native of Portola Valley, Calif., who also serves as the chief of staff for the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.
Among the changes taking place in South Korea is Eighth Army's transformation from an Army Service Component Command back to its Korean War-era roots as a warfighting field army. Fil said this operational change will better enable Eighth Army to defend Korea and maintain stability throughout Northeast Asia.
"We are transitioning into a warfighting headquarters, deployable not static, and able to conduct a range of missions here on the peninsula or regionally if required," said Fil.
Calling the changes taking place on the peninsula the largest transformation in the history of the alliance, Fil said that adding more accompanied three-year tours will increase readiness and improve quality of life for U.S. forces in Korea.
"It will be good on both counts, it will be noticeable, measurable and well understood," said Fil.
The commanding general said that the consolidation of U.S. forces into two enduring hubs in Pyeongtaek and Daegu will make life easier for military families.
"It will allow us to improve quality of services and facilities," said Fil, adding that the future U.S. headquarters post at Humphreys Garrison in Pyeongtaek is being built from scratch and following a plan that will produce a world class installation. "Garrison Humphreys is coming right out of the rice fields."
According to Fil, in spite of North Korea's threatening rhetoric and provocative behavior, South Korea remains a safe place for military families and an assignment of choice for Soldiers.
"We have had peace and stability here for 57 years," said Fil, "It's a well-run, very secure, very stable place."
While Fil said he will miss Eighth Army, he said he welcomes the opportunity to continue his service as the U.S. Army's Inspector General.
"I hope to be a positive influence, providing insight, foresight, oversight to our policies, programs and procedures," said Fil. "I think it ought to be a good opportunity to help Soldiers, families and civilians."
Commanding Eighth Army during the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, Fil said he was honored to follow in the footsteps of Eighth Army's former legendary commanding generals like Walton Walker, Matthew Ridgeway and James Van Fleet.
He said leading the storied warfighting formation had been one of the highlights of his 34-year career in the U.S. Army - a career that included commanding Multinational Division-Baghdad during the 2007 surge in Iraq.
"It's a great honor and it also is a great responsibility to honor the legacy and tradition of those leaders," said Fil, "and try to build on it and not only keep it relevant but also to make it better and stronger."