FORT McPHERSON, Ga. (March 2, 2011) - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced March 1 his recommendation to President Obama that he nominate Army Gen. James D. Thurman take command of U.S. Forces in the Republic of Korea.

A native of Marietta, Okla., Thurman currently commands U.S. Army Forces Command, the U.S. Army's largest organization, where he is responsible for the oversight, manning, training, and equipping of 237,000 active-component Soldiers and the training and readiness oversight of 560,000 Soldiers of the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve.

Gates made the announcement during a Pentagon press briefing. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Thurman would succeed Army Gen. Walter "Skip" Sharp in Korea. Sharp is set to retire after his tour as commander of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.

The DOD secretary said Thurman has "the right mix of military acumen, strategic vision and diplomatic and interagency skills" needed for command in Korea.

Thurman, who is the 18th general officer to command FORSCOM, earned his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at East Central University in 1975.

"I feel both humbled and very honored to be nominated by the secretary of Defense to continue to serve our great nation and Army," Thurman said.

In addition to his current command, Thurman also commanded the 4th Infantry Division and Multinational Division Baghdad, during some of the darkest days in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Thurman has commanded at every echelon through an Army corps. He has significant Department of the Army and Joint staff experience and extensive operational combat experience. Besides his command of 4th Infantry Division and the Multinational Division Baghdad in Iraq, his other combat assignments were: battalion executive officer in the 1st Cavalry Division during Desert Shield/Storm from 1990-91; chief of the Plans and Policy Division for Allied Forces Southern Europe in Kosovo from 1999-2000; and chief of Operations (G-3) for the Coalition Forces Land Component Command from 2002-03.

"Until such time that I am confirmed, I will stay focused on my current job, which is to ensure our Army is properly manned, trained and equipped to fight and win our country's battles," Thurman said.