USFK activates new battalion
YONGSAN ARMY GARRISON, SEOUL, South Korea — Service members and civilians gathered May 6 at Knight Field to mark the inactivation of Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Eighth Army, and the activation of Special Troops Battalion, U.S. Forces Korea.
Capt. Christine Sheehan, commander, HHD, cased the detachment colors, and Lt. Col. Glenda Gill, incoming commander, STB, uncased the colors of the newly-activated battalion. First Sgt. Stephen Canonico, HHD, and a native of West Haven, Conn., will serve as the new battalion’s command sergeant major.
During the ceremony, members of the United Nations Command Honor Guard and Command Post Tango Security Forces removed their Eighth Army patches and donned the USFK patch.
Managing HHD, which at one time had more than 500 personnel, including Soldiers, Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army, and civilians, was complex, but rewarding, said Sheehan, a native of Lancaster, Mass.
“It was challenging,” said Sheehan. “I have really appreciated the support of all the senior leaders in the Eighth Army and the USFK.”
The creation of the new STB will more effectively and efficiently support the logistical and administrative requirements for more than 800 personnel of the theater command and the theater air, naval and ground security forces, said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Brian Bishop, deputy chief of staff, UNC and USFK.
After uncasing the battalion colors, Gill, who previously served as chief, mobility operations, Eighth Army, said that she was greatly honored to serve as the commander of the new battalion and added that the change to a battalion would ensure specific missions to be conducted more effectively.
“The legacy starts today,” said Gill, a native of West Point, Miss. “We are trained and ready to serve in crisis or any period of active hostilities.”
The activation of a separate battalion to support U.S. Forces Korea ensures that personnel from both units can receive the best possible support, said Lt. Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Eighth Army.
"In the event of a crisis or war, we will be geographically separated on the battlefield," said Spletstoser, a native of Chicago, Ill. "And Eighth Army is a warfighting command with a different mission set than USFK, the theater command; the activation of the new battalion adds capability and is more in line with strategic initiatives."
The HHB went from seven companies, including the Honor Guard, the 8th Army Band, and the CP Tango Security Force, to just four companies – Headquarters Support Company, Intelligence and Sustainment Company, Operations Company, and the Eighth Army Band. The newly-activated Special Troops Battalion, U.S. Forces Korea, will be comprised of a core and two companies – CP Tango and the UNC Honor Guard companies.
The newest battalion in the U.S. Army will provide administrative, logistic, and operational support to personnel in the USFK during armistice and periods of active hostilities including ceremonial support and security of CP Tango.