General Thurman takes in U.S. forces' command in S Korea

15:39, July 14, 2011      

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An inauguration ceremony was held at the Yongsan Garrison on Thursday for the new commander of U.S. forces stationed in South Korea, with Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in attendance.

General James Thurman assumed command of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, replacing the outgoing commander, Gen. Walter Sharp.

Gen. Sharp had served in South Korea for three years after taking up his post in 2008 and is set to retire in September.

Adm. Mullen made an address at the ceremony and acknowledged the growing influence and importance of the South Korea-U.S. military alliance. He also praised South Korea's military for its strength and development despite a slew of challenges. "The Korean military's modernization and improvement over the years and its demonstrated strength and commitment to worldwide stability make all of us proud to call this great nation one of our most central and important allies," said Adm. Mullen.

Gen. Thurman said he will focus on strengthening the alliance between the two countries to bring stability to the Korean peninsula and prevent any provocation. "I'll continue to strengthen the alliance. Our partnership has grown stronger over time, and this will continue during my tenure in command. Together we will build on this solid foundation, continuing to deter any aggression or provocation on the Korean peninsula in the future," said Gen. Thurman.

Gen. Thurman most recently served as the head of U.S. Army Forces Command and was a former commander of the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq.

A total of 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea as a deterrent against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

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