Under SecArmy Carson visits South Korea
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (Nov. 19, 2014) -- Undersecretary of the Army Brad R. Carson met with U.S. Soldiers, civilian employees, and families in South Korea, Monday and Tuesday.
Carson visited Korea as a part of his trip to the Pacific region, which included stops in Washington state, Hawaii, South Korea, and Alaska, Nov. 12-19.
His goal during the trip was to gain a better understanding of each command's mission and capabilities. He also sought to learn current and future requirements of the units his visited.
Carson met with senior U.S. military leadership at Yongsan Garrison, which included briefings on Army operations and challenges faced in the Korean theater of operations. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commanding general of the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces Korea and Eighth Army Commander Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux conducted the briefings.
Carson also met with civilian employees at Eighth Army's headquarters, to discuss a wide range of topics that affect civilian workers in the U.S. Army. Topics included career development, recruitment policies, reduction in unit funds, payment systems, and benefits.
Michael A. Demcko, director of safety, Eighth Army, was one of the civilians who attended the discussion.
"It's re-assuring that the senior army leadership understands and is actively discussing these vital issues with senior civilians in the field who live with their policies and decisions every day," Demcko said.
Carson noted that civilian employees in the U.S. Army are faced with difficult times because of sequestration. He added that he would go back to Washington, D.C., and try to find solutions to those issues with other leaders.
The undersecretary also used this trip as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of the Republic of Korea-United States alliance, and show his support for deployment of rotational forces to the Korean peninsula.
"The [Republic of Korea]-U.S. alliance is one of the longest standing alliances in history. The partnership where [the Republic of Korea] Army and U.S are working and training together to build skill, strengthening unit cohesion and enhancing force readiness is unparalleled," Carson said.
The working relationship and friendship between the two nations makes Eighth Army strong, said Carson.
As for the inactivation of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Carson said the deployment of rotational forces and stationing of pertinent capabilities on the peninsula will contribute heavily to the robust combined deterrence and defense posture of South Korea.
Eighth Army has completed successful reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of three rotational units this past year, and continues to work with various headquarters elements to prepare units for movement and address challenges to meet projected requirements in Korea.
Carson also met with and thanked Soldiers serving near the demilitarized zone and the joint security area. He also toured Camp Humphreys to see progress on the U.S. Army's largest construction project, the expansion of the installation that will soon serve as the hub of U.S. forces in Korea.
"We appreciate the service and sacrifice of our service members, civilians, and each family member of those who serve in Korea. The Army stands at a critical moment in its history, challenged to reshape into a leaner force still capable of meeting the nation's strategic priorities," said Carson.