Maj. Gen. Tammy S. Smith
USAG HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- The Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army program began as a temporary measure to increase U.S. military manpower during the Korean War and today it represents the strength of the Republic of Korea and U.S. alliance.
KATUSAs are assigned to Eighth Army to facilitate relationships between the two countries. Many continue to improve relations between the ROK and U.S. even after their service requirement ends. Leaders of the KATUSA Veterans Association visited U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Apr. 25 to better understand the U.S. Army's transformation on the peninsula.
Eighth Army hosted the KVA and updated them on Eighth Army's transformation, relocation and provided an overview of the construction at USAG Humphreys. The event consisted of a tour of the installation and the surrounding civilian community and a series of briefings on the transformation in progress.
Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Sustainment, Maj. Gen. Tammy S. Smith expressed her gratitude for KVA's efforts to support KATUSAs and Eighth Army Soldiers.
"It does not escape me about the important role that you play in building this bridge from our past," Smith said. "I also appreciate what you do, ensuring that we have close ties with the community and that we continue to build the alliance."
Command Sgt. Maj. Richard E. Merritt, Eighth Army command sergeant major, pointed out the significance of KATUSA soldiers in their country and the alliance.
"I'm proud of serving with KATUSAs today," Merritt said. "I look at the alliance and think, where would the alliance have been today if it was not for the KATUSAs? Look what you've done for KATUSA bloodline, your country and the alliance."
Smith concluded the tour by stressing the importance of KVA to the alliance.
"Thank you again for all that you have done." Smith said. "KVA is a glue that holds the alliance together. It is our sincere hope that we will continue to have this strong friendship that we've always had."