Defense Secretary Robert Gates, during a March 1 Pentagon press briefing, recommended President Barack Obama nominate Gen. James Thurman to take command of U.S. Forces in the Republic of Korea.

Thurman currently commands U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), the U.S. Army's largest organization, where he is responsible for the oversight, manning, training and equipping of 237,000 active duty Soldiers and the training and readiness oversight of 560,000 National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers.

If confirmed by the Senate, Thurman would succeed Gen. Walter Sharp. Sharp, who commands 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, is set to retire.

Gates 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.

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

"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. "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."