YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (May 2, 2012) -- The Eighth Army commanding general called South Korea an "amazing ally" during an address to the Korean Military Academy in Seoul, May 2.

Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson told the Korean Military Academy faculty and classmen that the U.S. and South Korean armies are not only defending Korea but are also serving together around the world.

"Our strength comes from our relationship with each other," said Johnson. "It is defined not only by our efforts to defend the ROK [Republic of Korea], but our collective efforts to make the world a better place for our countries today and for our children in the future."

Johnson said the ROK-U.S. Alliance had served with distinction together in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in counter-piracy missions off the coast of Somalia and humanitarian assistance operations in Haiti.

Emphasizing the U.S. military's pivot to the Asia Pacific region, Johnson said the ROK-U.S. Alliance would continue play a critical role in the region, deterring aggression on the Korean Peninsula and maintaining stability in Northeast Asia.

"In the end, actions speak the loudest," said Johnson. "And in readiness, lies deterrence."

Johnson thanked the Korean Military Academy for training future South Korean military officers who will serve side-by-side with the U.S. service members in Korea and around the globe.

A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, Johnson said, "My thanks to you for your dedication to something greater than yourselves. You are not only the future leaders of Korea, but the leaders of the free world."

"When I talk to my Soldiers about the Republic of Korea, I start by telling them the U.S. is fortunate to have such an amazing ally," said Johnson. "Not only do we benefit greatly by having a strong democratic partner in such an important part of the world and a military ally around the world, but we are kindred spirits."