YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (June 20, 2013) -- The Eighth Army commanding general is using his final week in command to thank the men and women of the U.S. Army's top operational formation on the Korean Peninsula.

Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson thanked Soldiers for their service during a ceremony at the post theater here, June 20.

Johnson gave Eighth Army coins to some of his top troops following his farewell address.

The Eighth Army commander also met with South Korean troops at the Republic of Korea Army's 17th Infantry Division headquarters.

Confirmed to be the next director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, Johnson will turn over command of Eighth Army to Maj. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, June 27. JIEDDO oversees the U.S. Department of Defense's efforts to defeat Improvised Explosive Devices as weapons of strategic influence.

Johnson has directed Eighth Army's transformation from an Army Service Component Command to an operational-level Field Army headquarters capable of commanding multinational corps-level combat formations.

Johnson credited his Soldiers with the accomplishments of his two and a half years in command.

"That wasn't done by me," said Johnson. "That was done by the officers, NCOs (noncommissioned officers) and Soldiers of this organization."

Johnson said Eighth Army will play an enduring role in defending freedom in Korea and maintaining stability in Northeast Asia, home to four of the world's six largest militaries and 25 percent of total U.S. trade.

"We are recognized by the Army for having unique capabilities," said Johnson. "We are the forward deployed Army in this theater."

Johnson has led Eighth Army during a tumultuous time on the Korean Peninsula, assuming command just two weeks prior to North Korea's unprovoked shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010.

The Eighth Army commander thanked his Soldiers for upholding America's commitment to security on the Korean Peninsula and serving as a shield against the threat posed by North Korea.

"The thing that has stood between the threat and our allies is your predecessors and you who have said, 'not here, not now, not on my watch,'" said Johnson.