Odierno visits American Soldiers in South Korea
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno (left) shakes hands with Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, during a visit to South Korea Jan. 20, 2012.

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (Jan. 20, 2012) -- The U.S. Army's top officer met with senior Army leaders and American Soldiers in South Korea Jan. 19-20.

As the U.S. military shifts its focus to the Asia Pacific region, U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno made his first visit to South Korea since assuming the U.S. Army's top uniformed post.

The former commander of Multinational Forces Iraq and Joint Forces Command became the U.S. Army's 38th chief of staff on Sept. 7, 2011.

Odierno visited Yongsan Garrison, the headquarters post for U.S. military forces in South Korea.

The chief of staff was briefed on Eighth Army's transformation from an Army Service Component Command to a deployable, combined and joint warfighting headquarters, capable of commanding multinational corps-level combat forces.

Earlier in the day, Odierno met with Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, and other senior South Korean and U.S. military officials in Seoul.

Odierno traveled to Korea following a meeting with U.S. Army Pacific leaders in Hawaii. During a media roundtable at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, Odierno emphasized the U.S. Army's commitment to deterring or defeating aggression on the Korean Peninsula.

"We obviously have concern about North Korea as we watch the transition in its leadership," Odierno said during the media roundtable. "It seems to be stable for now, but that's something that we watch very, very carefully."

"Our presence in South Korea will remain the same," said Odierno. "As we continue to reduce our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan that will make more force available for Korea if necessary."

Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson said the chief of staff was able to get a close up view of the security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

"This visit was a great opportunity for the chief to understand the environment that Eighth Army operates in on the Korean Peninsula," said Johnson. "American Soldiers proudly uphold our nation's 61-year commitment to liberty here on 'Freedom's Frontier.' Because of their enduring commitment to our Korean allies, the Republic of Korea-United States Alliance continues to deter aggression and remains ready to fight and win, if necessary."

"I'm pleased that General Odierno was able to witness firsthand their pride, professionalism and dedication," said Johnson. "The ROK-U.S. Alliance has never been stronger than it is today, and with the great support of leaders like General Odierno, it will only get stronger in the future."

Page last updated Fri January 20th, 2012 at 00:00