YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (April 25, 2012) -- More than 61 years after arriving in Korea to repel communist aggression, Eighth Army returned to its operational roots this year.

In a general order issued by Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Jan. 23, Eighth Army was designated as an operational-level Field Army Headquarters that exercises operational command and control of U.S. Army forces on the Korean Peninsula.

Previously, Eighth Army served as the U.S. Army Service Component Command for U.S. Army forces on the Korean Peninsula. That responsibility has now shifted to U.S. Army Pacific to enable Eighth Army to focus on its new Field Army mission.

As the U.S. shifts its focus to the Asia Pacific region, Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson said the change would better enable Eighth Army to carry out its critical mission.

"The release of the Defense Strategic Guidance last January only serves to reinforce the importance of Eighth Army's role, mission and commitment to the enduring peace and stability of the region," said Johnson. "The 'Pacific Victors' have been executing this mission for over 61 years, and every member of the team understands the importance of our mission and stands ready as America's boots on the ground in Asia."

Founded on June 10, 1944, the Eighth Army liberated more 60 islands during World War II, served in the occupation force in Japan and commanded ground forces as the only U.S. Field Army in the Korean War.

Since then, Eighth Army has deterred aggression on the Korean Peninsula and served as a theater army and Army Service Component Command in support of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.

As a part of Army Pacific integration, Eighth Army is a Field Army again, capable of commanding multiple U.S. and multi-national corps in a joint and combined fight.

"Eighth Army has returned to its operational roots here in Korea," said Johnson, "and this is a sign of our enduring commitment to our steadfast ally, the Republic of Korea. Our daily focus is on deterring aggression and if necessary, decisively defeating any threat against the Republic of Korea."