By Tim Oberle, Eighth Army Public AffairsDecember 29, 2015
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea (ROK) -- The ROK Army Support Group, the combat operations support unit responsible for managing the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army (KATUSA) program and ROK Soldiers assigned to Eighth Army welcomed two new commanders earlier this month.
During a ceremony on Dec. 15 at the Collier Community Fitness Center at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan in Seoul Col. Lee, Chul-Won took command of the ROK Army Support Group Headquarters Command. A week later on Dec. 22, Lt. Col. Koo, Bon-Heon was introduced as the commander for the Area II ROK Army Support Group at the same location.
Both Lee and Koo take command as the ROK-U.S. Alliance is in the midst of a massive transformation to relocate the majority of U.S. forces at two enduring hubs at Camp Humphreys near Pyeongtaek and Camp Walker in Daegu.
The transition, deemed the largest construction project in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers history, will inevitably come with some growing pains. However, both commanders are well-equipped for the arduous task and Lee explained why he believes Koo is the right man for the job.
"Lieutenant Colonel Koo…has supervised planning at the Ministry of National Defense and U.S. Forces Korea Military Base Relocation Project Team since 2009," explained Lee. "I have no doubt that based on (his) experience, he (is) well-qualified (to) carry out the relocation project of the ROK Army Support Group Headquarters starting in 2016."
Koo thanked Lee for his kind words and assured leaders in attendance that he is locked and loaded and ready to take on his new role.
"It is (a) great honor being appointed as the Area II ROK Support Group Commander, especially at a time when the importance of (this) role is being emphasized," said Koo. "Fully realizing the tremendous responsibilities that the (position) brings, I will do my absolute best to fulfill my…duties by taking (Col. Lee's) intent to heart."
In addition to the massive transformation taking place over the next few years, the Alliance is also faced with a growing nuclear threat from the North and an increasingly complex operational environment in the region.
Lee, a 1986 graduate of the Korean Military Academy who rapidly ascended through the ranks, is well suited to handle the difficulties attendant with his new position.
"We are now experiencing (an) unstable environment…due to both international and domestic threats such as (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria)," said Lee. "In particular…North Korea is consistently threatening us by augmenting its asymmetric force and continuing (their history) of provocations."
"During such dynamic period, I will (do my best) in leading the (ROK Army Support Group) based on the priorities of Lt. Gen. Kim, Hae-Seok, Commander of the ROK Army Personnel Command."
With the extensive military background and unrelenting commitment to excellence that both Lee and Koo possess, there is no doubt that the ROK Army Support Group is in good hands for well into the future.