YONGSAN, SOUTH KOREA- Once known as a busy hub of the Korean experience for Soldiers, the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan is now known as the center of transformation in the Republic of Korea. The garrison recently welcomed a new command team and Col. Ellis R. Baker, the senior mission commander says the newest members of the command are right for this mission.
The Yongsan garrison commander, Lt. Col. Andrew “Klip” Klippel, a native of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., assumed command responsibilities, July 9. Command Sgt. Major Jeffrey R. Friebe, a native of Linwood Mich., assumed his role as guardian of the unit’s colors and Soldiers during an Aug. 17, assumption of responsibility ceremony.
Since arrival, the team remains focused on providing strong leadership and improving customer service. Stationed here [in South Korea] before, both the commander and his senior enlisted advisor say they look forward to enhancing the lives of the Soldiers, Department of Defense civilians, Korean Nationals and family members living and working at Yongsan.
The Yongsan command team, along with Baker and Yongsan-Casey’s Command Sgt. Major Wayne Butterbrodt, will coordinate and collaborate with service providers and the community during the community’s transformation.
Klippel said, he was stationed at Camp Howze briefly before deploying to Iraq in 2004.
“I am here again -- in a place where we asked to be – so, I can close that chapter and write it a different way than it ended the first time,” Klippel said. “It’s the first opportunity to do an overseas assignment as a family. We jumped at it.”
Klippel is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Rolla. Having attended the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced Course, the Psychological Operations Qualification Course, and the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College and multiple stateside tours at Fort Bragg and at the White House Military Office in Washington D.C., he arrives with a wealth of experience and is enthusiastic about the opportunity to share this experience with his family. He is a self-declared “Army brat.”
“I was born at the Army hospital there at Fort Leonard Wood. My mother is German and my father met her there,” he said.
He describes this opportunity as a special treat to help his children understand their blended culture, since his wife has family in South Korea.
“This type of work needs a strong and dynamic leader, and Command Sgt. Major Friebe is perfect for the job,” said Klippel. “He’s incredibly passionate about providing a high standard and quality of life for all who reside and work within our area of responsibility. He genuinely cares about taking care of people.”
No stranger to Yongsan, Friebe served at the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade at Yongsan as a team leader in 2001. Today, due to transformation and base closure nothing looks the same. As the garrison’s Command Sgt. Maj. Friebe says it’s an honor to be a part of the historic return process.
“I remember returning from a range on September 11, turning on the TV, and seeing the towers getting hit,” Friebe said. “It's surreal. I’m back at Yongsan.”
"We are excited to be in Korea to make new friends, explore the peninsula and experience the Korean culture during our tenure,” Friebe said during his ceremony. “To my family, Jamie, Justin, Jordyn and Jensen, thank you for the support and love throughout the journey.”
Like Klippel, Friebe has served all over the world. He’s a military police and has served at installations, Forts Bragg and Polk, Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, Grafenwoehr and Bamberg in Germany, as well as, deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Panama.
“Lt. Col. Klippel, I look forward to working with you here at USAG Yongsan.” he said during his remarks at the Aug. 17, ceremony. “From the short time that we’ve worked together I believe we are in the right position to build a ready and strong team.”
Editor’s note: Learn more about the USAG Yongsan and Yongsan-Casey command team go to https://home.army.mil/yongsan/index.php/about/leadership