SEOUL (June 10, 2013) -- The senior officer in the South Korean military thanked U.S. Soldiers for their enduring commitment to security on the Korean Peninsula, June 7.

During the Eighth Army Ball at the Seoul Grand Hyatt, Republic of Korea, or ROK, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Jung Seung-jo expressed his gratitude to U.S. Soldiers serving in Korea.

The chairman said Eighth Army has played a critical role in deterring aggression on the Korean Peninsula and maintaining stability in Northeast Asia since the Korean War Armistice was signed 60 years ago this July.

A 1976 graduate of the Korea Military Academy, Jung previously served as the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command deputy commanding general before becoming the top military officer in the ROK Armed Forces.

Senior U.S. and ROK officials attended the ball, including retired ROK Army Gen. Paik Sun-yup, the ROK Army's first four-star general; ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command Deputy Commander Gen. Kwon Oh-sung; Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson; Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Operations Walter M. Golden Jr. and 2nd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Edward Cardon.

During the ball, the Eighth Army commanding general presented the top awards for the Eighth Army Best Warrior Competition that recognized the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army troop, Soldier, noncommissioned officer and officer of the year.

The KATUSA of the year was Pfc. Beak Joon-hyun from the 65th Medical Brigade. Pfc. Sean Caggiano, from the Osan Air Base-headquartered 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, was the Soldier of the year, and Sgt. Moises Villa was the noncommissioned officer of the year. Capt. Andrew Johnson, from the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, earned the officer of the year title.

During his time in command, Johnson has sought to strengthen the ROK-U.S. Alliance through a variety of Korean Peninsula-wide initiatives, from having ROK Army noncommissioned officers train at the Eighth Army NCO Academy to conducting combined training exercises.

For his efforts, Johnson received the South Korean Order of National Security Medal, in May 2013.