Eighth Army commander visits Humphreys
December 6, 2011
CAMP HUMPHREYS -- The U.S. Army's mission in Korea requires continued vigilance by motivated Soldiers, the Eighth Army commander said during a visit here Dec. 1.
The commander, Lt. Gen. John Johnson, and the Eighth Army's senior enlisted Soldier, Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Harris, spoke with leaders in a town hall meeting at the Super Gym.
Johnson noted that North Koreans launch periodic provocations, which the United States and South Korea must be ready for. He mentioned the sinking of a South Korean warship in March 2010 and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island eight months later as examples.
"In your readiness lies deterrence," Johnson said. "We have to be ready to go. When tensions arise, we've got to be on our game."
But while the attacks show the relevance of the U.S. mission in Korea, it only takes one incident by a derelict Soldier to taint the image, Johnson noted.
"We are here as guests," he said, adding it is a leader's responsibility to ensure young Soldiers have the knowledge and resources to act appropriately while away from home for the first time in a foreign country.
On another issue, he stressed the commitment to quality of life for Soldiers and their Families, saying it's important that people want to come here. Johnson also touched on cold weather injuries, noting that a long desert war has meant less focus on the issue. "We've had a lot of cold weather injuries in the Army last year," he said. "We have a lot of NCOs and officers who don't inherently understand the risks."
Harris said the cold weather preparation is only one of many ways company commanders and first sergeants should influence those under them.
"When a sergeant major talks in front of Soldiers, they're hearing Charlie Brown's teacher," Harris said. "The best time to directly influence Soldiers is at the company level."
He also mentioned Eighth Army successes in the Connelly Competition and Best Warrior competitions, and in winning maintenance awards and supply excellence awards.
"We've got energized first sergeants and company commanders who are making it happen," he said. "We've got to be proud of what Eighth Army has done and where we're going."