YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea, Nov. 7, 2011 -- The top noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army returned to South Korea more than 11 years after serving there in the 2nd Infantry Division.

"It's just an honor to be here and be with our strong partners here in Korea," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III during a media roundtable on Yongsan Garrison Nov. 7.

Chandler is the 14th Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army, having previously served as the commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.

During his 30-minute meeting with reporters at the Eighth Army headquarters, the SMA praised the long-term alliance between South Korean and American troops.

"We have a lot to learn from each other," said Chandler. "Together, we're both better."

Chandler said that one of the lessons learned during nearly a decade of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan was the importance of cultural awareness.

Chandler also emphasized the importance of discipline and standards.

"This is what we're about as an Army," said Chandler. "That we have standards that are applied and we have values."

Chandler said the U.S. Army remains focused on accomplishing its mission in South Korea and improving quality of life for Soldiers and families stationed there.

"I support anything that is going to help Soldiers and families," said Chandler, "and help us maintain the best trained, equipped and manned force that we can provide here on the peninsula and the around the world."