Johnson: Ulchi Freedom Guardian increases readiness
September 5, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (Sept. 5, 2012) -- The U.S. Army's operational-level commander in South Korea said exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian improved Eighth Army's mission readiness to serve as a joint and combined operational headquarters.
Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson said the exercise, which ran from Aug. 20 to Aug. 31, furthered Eighth Army's ability to tackle any crisis, contingency or conflict.
Johnson added that Eighth Army's response to Typhoon Bolaven during the exercise proved that the storied combat formation can quickly adapt to changing circumstances and still accomplish its mission.
Eighth Army moved from its mobile command post compound to fixed command facilities to ensure the safety of its team members and continue the invaluable training opportunity. The Republic of Korea-United States Combined Forces Command also temporarily halted the exercise as the massive storm made landfall on the Korean Peninsula.
"I salute everyone involved in the response to Typhoon Bolaven," said Johnson. "They proved just how agile, mobile and effective Eighth Army can be, even under the most trying conditions."
Several other U.S. Army units joined the exercise this year from off the Korean Peninsula. The Fort Bragg, N.C.-based XVIII Airborne Corps jumped into the action, along with Fort Shafter, Hawaii-based U.S. Army Pacific and the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.-based 20th Support Command (CBRNE).
Johnson said the units operated together seamlessly and demonstrated the kind of military might the U.S. Army can bring to bear on short notice.
"These U.S. Army units performed magnificently during Ulchi Freedom Guardian," said Johnson. "This exercise was a total team effort."
According to Johnson, Eighth Army is the only U.S. Army operational-level combat formation stationed on mainland Asia and it serves on the front lines of the U.S. military's shift to the Asia Pacific region.
"Eighth Army has served here in the Pacific since its formation in 1944," said Johnson, "and this exercise demonstrated that the Pacific Victors remain ready to stand side-by-side with their ROK allies and defend freedom here in the Republic of Korea."