Eighth Army holds change of command ceremony
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea - The U.S. Army's top warfighting command in South Korea held a change of command ceremony here Nov. 9.

On a brisk, beautiful autumn afternoon, Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson assumed command of Eighth Army from Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil, Jr., on Knight Field.

Attended by many senior ROK-U.S. Alliance leaders, the ceremony was hosted by Gen. Walter L. Sharp, commander of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.

According to Sharp, Fil was instrumental in shepherding through many key initiatives that strengthened the ROK-U.S. Alliance and improved the readiness and quality of life of U.S. forces in South Korea.

"You have been an agile, adaptive leader who seized opportunities, provided the right vision and then motivated your team to success," Sharp told Fil. "One of your greatest successes has been initiating the transformation of Eighth Army from an Army Service Component Command to a field army, an army capable of employing multiple corps-sized units and acting as a land component command in a joint and combined warfight."

"As we work to validate the new alliance structures and plans, Eighth Army always took the lead to ensure that our force will be ready to fight and win in the Korean Peninsula's dynamic security environment," said Sharp.

After almost three years as Eighth Army commanding general and United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea chief of staff, Fil is moving to the Pentagon to become the U.S. Army's inspector general.

Fil said he would miss the people who make the ROK-U.S. Alliance one of the strongest in the world.

"Command anywhere is a great and sacred honor but nowhere more so than here on freedom's frontier in the Republic of Korea," said Fil, a native of Portola Valley, Calif. "Walking in the footsteps of Walker, Van Fleet, Ridgeway and all the other storied former commanders is really very humbling and I've considered this a great honor."

Johnson took command of the American field army and become UNC/CFC/USFK chief of staff following a tour as acting commanding general of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Johnson pinned on his third star earlier that day.

No stranger to Korea, Johnson served as the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver for the South Korea-based 2nd Infantry Division in 2006.

Johnson said he welcomed the opportunity to command the storied warfighting command and to continue its enduring commitment to defending South Korea, strengthening the ROK-U.S. Alliance and making Korea an assignment of choice.

"It's an honor for me to assume command of this historic formation and return to service once again in the Republic of Korea," said Johnson. "It's great to be home."

Related Links:

Eighth Army Web site