Paik named honorary Eighth Army commander
GENERAL PAIK OPERATIONAL COMMAND POST, South Korea (Aug. 29, 2013) -- Eighth Army named the Republic of Korea Army's first four-star general as an honorary Eighth Army commanding general during exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian, here, Aug. 29.
Retired Republic of Korea Army Gen. Paik Sun-yup received the honorary commander title during his first visit to the Eighth Army operational command post, or OCP, that was named after him in June.
He was accompanied by retired Gen. Charles Campbell, a former Eighth Army commander; Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Operations Maj. Gen. Walter M. Golden; Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Sustainment Brig. Gen. Chris Gentry; and Eighth Army Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Devens.
Representing Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux, Golden presented the 93-year-old retired general with a U.S. Army Combat Uniform top and Devens gave Paik an Eighth Army combat patch.
"The new OCP name recognizes General Paik's immeasurable contribution to the strength and solidarity of the Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance from its earliest days," said Golden.
Golden said Paik's Republic of Korea, or ROK, Army troops won a decisive victory against North Korean forces at the Pusan Perimeter on the same day 63 years earlier. During the Battle of Tabudong in 1950, Paik's troops protected the Eighth Army and ROK Army headquarters in Daegu. For his actions in the battle, Paik was awarded the Distinguished Silver Star from then Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Walton Walker.
Paik is South Korea's most highly decorated war hero, and he led combat forces in 10 major battles from the Nakdong River to the Yalu River. Paik also served on the Korean War Armistice Commission and helped to establish the Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army program that assigns ROK Army troops to Eighth Army units. Paik chronicled his Korean War service in his memoir, "From Pusan to Panmunjom."
Paik became a ROK Army brigadier general before turning 30. During his uniformed career, Paik commanded the 5th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, 1st Infantry Division, I Corps, II Corps, First ROK Army, the ROK Army and the ROK Armed Forces. Paik was also the first ROK Army general to command a combined joint task force.
Eighth Army is returning to its operational roots on the Korean Peninsula, transforming into an operational-level task force capable of commanding combined and joint corps-level combat formations. Eighth Army has operated out of its mobile command post at different locations around the Korean Peninsula during the last few annual exercises.
During Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2013, the cavernous command post is set up on New Mexico Range, a training range ringed by rice fields in the green mountains south of the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
Golden said Eighth Army will uphold General Paik's legacy of service by continuing to maintain security on the Korean Peninsula and stability in the Asia Pacific region.
"Eighth Army will carry your name on its operational command post as it continues to defend Korea," said Golden, "and Eighth Army is proud to call you our honorary commanding general."
Paik thanked the Eighth Army commanding general for honoring him and he thanked Eighth Army for its continued contribution to peace on the peninsula.
"This is a great honor," said Paik. "I'd like to express my heartfelt thanks to General Champoux, the commander of Eighth Army, for the great honor he has given me today."
"For the past 60 years under the protection of the Eighth Army, the Republic of Korea has prospered to what it is today," said Paik.