United States Forces Korea

United States Forces Korea
주한 미군

Active 1 July 1957–present
Country  United States of America
Type Subordinate Unified Command
Size 28,500 personnel
Headquarters Yongsan Garrison, Seoul, South Korea
Nickname(s) USFK
General Vincent K. Brooks, USA
General George Decker
General Hamilton H. Howze
General John W. Vessey
General John A. Wickham
Distinctive Unit Insignia
United States Forces Korea
Revised Romanization Juhanmigun
McCune–Reischauer Chuhanmigun

United States Forces Korea (USFK) is a sub-unified command of United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). USFK is the joint headquarters through which U.S. combat forces would be sent to the South Korea/US (ROK/U.S.) Combined Forces Command’s (CFC) fighting components — the combined ground, air, naval, marine and special operations forces component commands. Major USFK elements include Eighth U.S. Army (EUSA), U.S. Air Forces Korea (Seventh Air Force), U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK), U.S. Marine Forces Korea (MARFORK) and Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR). It was established on 1 July 1957.

Its mission is to support the United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command by coordinating and planning among U.S. component commands, and exercise operational control of U.S. forces as directed by United States Pacific Command.

USFK has Title 10 authority, which means that USFK is responsible for organizing, training and equipping U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula so that forces are agile, adaptable and ready.

With 28,500 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in South Korea, U.S. forces in South Korea are a forward presence in the region and a key manifestation of the U.S. government's rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific. The USFK mission also includes planning non-combatant evacuation operations to ensure that if the need arises, U.S. and other previously agreed-upon countries' citizens are removed from harm's way. To this end, USFK conducts routine exercises to ensure that this process is effective, efficient and orderly.


United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command

While USFK is a separate organization from United Nations Command (UNC) and CFC, its mission is to support both UNC and CFC by coordinating and planning among US component commands and providing US supporting forces to the CFC. As such, USFK continues to support the ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty.

In response to the North Korean attack against South Korea on 25 June 1950, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) established the UNC as a unified command under the US in UNSC Resolution 84 on 7 July 1950. The UNC mission was to assist South Korea to repel the attack and restore international peace and security in Korea. Throughout the war, 53 nations provided support to the UNC; 16 nations provided combat forces and five sent medical and hospital units. After three years of hostilities, the commanders of both sides signed the Armistice Agreement on 27 July 1953.

Hostilities today are also deterred by this bi-national defense team that evolved from the multi-national UNC. Established on 7 November 1978, the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) is the warfighting headquarters. Its role is to deter, or defeat if necessary, outside aggression against the ROK.

Commanders, U.S. Forces Korea

Image Name Start End
General George Decker 1 July 1957 30 June 1959
General Carter B. Magruder 1 July 1959 30 June 1961
General Guy S. Meloy 1 July 1961 31 July 1963
General Hamilton H. Howze 1 August 1963 15 June 1965
General Dwight E. Beach 16 June 1965 31 August 1966
General Charles H. Bonesteel, III 1 September 1966 30 September 1969
General John H. Michaelis 1 October 1969 31 August 1972
General Donald V. Bennett 1 September 1972 31 July 1973
General Richard G. Stilwell 1 August 1973 8 October 1976
General John W. Vessey, Jr. 8 October 1976 10 July 1979
General John A. Wickham, Jr. 10 July 1979 4 June 1982
General Robert W. Sennewald 4 June 1982 1 June 1984
General William J. Livsey 1 June 1984 25 June 1987
General Louis C. Menetrey, Jr. 25 June 1987 26 June 1990
General Robert W. RisCassi 26 June 1990 15 June 1993
General Gary E. Luck 15 June 1993 9 July 1996
General John H. Tilelli, Jr. 9 July 1996 9 December 1999
General Thomas A. Schwartz 9 December 1999 1 May 2002
General Leon J. Laporte 1 May 2002 3 February 2006
General B. B. Bell 3 February 2006 3 June 2008
General Walter "Skip" Sharp 3 June 2008 14 July 2011
General James D. Thurman 14 July 2011 2 October 2013
General Curtis M. Scaparrotti 2 October 2013 30 April 2016
General Vincent K. Brooks 30 April 2016 Present


The following is a partial list of border incidents involving North Korea since the Armistice Agreement of 27 July 1953, ended large scale military action of the Korean War. Most of these incidents took place near either the Korean Demilitarized Zone or the Northern Limit Line. This list includes engagements on land, air, and sea, but does not include alleged incursions and terrorist incidents that occurred away from the border.

Many of the incidents occurring at sea are due to border disputes. The North claims jurisdiction over a large area south of the disputed western maritime border, the Northern Limit Line in the waters west of the Korean Peninsula. This is a prime fishing area, particularly for crabs, and clashes commonly occur. In addition, the North claims its territorial waters extend for 50 nautical miles (90 km) from the coast, rather than the 12 nautical miles (22 km) recognized by other countries. According to the 5 January 2011 Korea Herald, since July 1953 North Korea has violated the armistice 221 times, including 26 military attacks.[1]



Sergeant Charles Jenkins in 2007.


Axe murder incident on August 18, 1976.




Wikinews has related news: Korean navies exchange fire


Number of U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea by year

Year Number
1950 510
1951 326,863
1952 326,863
1953 326,863
1954 225,590
1955 75,328
1956 68,813
1957 71,045
1958 46,024
1959 49,827
1960 55,864
1961 57,694
1962 60,947
1963 56,910
1964 62,596
1965 58,636
1966 47,076
1967 55,057
1968 62,263
1969 66,531
1970 52,197
1971 40,740
1972 41,600
1973 41,864
1974 40,387
1975 40,204
1976 39,133
1977 40,705
1978 41,565
1979 39,018
1980 38,780
1981 38,254
1982 39,194
1983 38,705
1984 40,785
1985 41,718
1986 43,133
1987 44,674
1988 45,501
1989 44,461
1990 41,344
1991 40,062
1992 35,743
1993 34,830
1994 36,796
1995 36,016
1996 36,539
1997 35,663
1998 36,890
1999 35,913
2000 36,565
2001 37,605
2002 37,743
2003 41,145
2004 40,840
2005 30,983
2006 28,500
2007 28,500
2008 28,500
2009 28,500
2010 28,500
2011 28,500
2012 28,500
2013 28,500
2014 29,300



United States Forces Korea warns American soldiers not to hire prostitutes and get involved in human trafficking.
South Koreans protest the expansion of Camp Humphreys in 2006.

Gwangju Uprising

The 1980s marked a surge in anti-Americanism in Korea, widely traced to the events of May 1980.[26]

Gwangju convinced a new generation of young [Koreans] that the democratic movement had developed not with the support of Washington, as an older generation of more conservative Koreans thought, but in the face of daily American support for any dictator who could quell the democratic aspirations of the Korean people. The result was an anti-American movement in the 1980s that threatened to bring down the whole structure of American support for the ROK. American cultural centers were burned to the ground (more than once in Gwangju); students immolated themselves in protest of Reagan's support for Chun.[27]

Fundamental to this movement was a perception of U.S. complicity in Chun's rise to power, and, more particularly, in the Gwangju massacre itself. These matters remain controversial. It is clear, for example, that the U.S. authorized the Korean Army's 20th Division to re-take Gwangju – as acknowledged in a 1982 letter to the New York Times by then-Ambassador Gleysteen.

[General Wickham], with my concurrence, permitted transfer of well-trained troops of the twentieth R.O.K.A. Division from martial-law duty in Seoul to Gwangju because law and order had to be restored in a situation that had run amok following the outrageous behavior of the Korean Special Forces, which had never been under General Wickham's command.[28]

However, as Gwangju Uprising editors Scott-Stokes and Lee note, whether the expulsion of government troops left the situation lawless or "amok" is very much open to dispute.

21st century

In 2002, anti-American sentiment in South Korea spiked after two U.S. soldiers in an M60 AVLB armoured vehicle-launched bridge accidentally hit and killed two South Korean teenage girls in the Yangju highway incident.[29]

An expansion of Camp Humphreys later in the decade saw protests, drawing thousands of South Korean citizens,[30] resulting in occasional violent clashes and arrests.[31] Following a series of large protests against the U.S. and Republic of Korea governments' plan to expand Camp Humphreys and make it the main base for most U.S. troops in South Korea, residents of Daechuri and other small villages near Pyeongtaek agreed to a government settlement to leave their homes in 2006 and allow the base's expansion.[32][33] Compensation for the land averaged 600 million won (about 600,000 USD) per resident.[34]

Relationships between U.S. soldiers and South Korean women

Western princesses (prostitutes servicing U.S. soldiers) have resulted in a negative image for South Korean women who have relationships with American men.[35][36]


Each year the ROK, the US and a selection of Sending States from the United Nations Command participate in multiple defense-oriented, combined and joint training events designed to defend the Republic of Korea, protect the region, and maintain and increase stability on the Korean peninsula.

Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, Key Resolve, and Foal Eagle, in addition to multiple Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) Drills, are the three theater level exercises.

Shoulder sleeve insignia


A shield-shaped embroidered device 3 1/8 inches (7.94 cm) in height and 2 1/2 inches (6.35 cm) in width overall blazoned: azure, in chief four mullets bendwise argent, all above a stylized American bald eagle, issuant from sinister base volant to dexter chief; the eagle’s body gules surmounted by two bendlets, wider at base, of the second throughout; head of the second, eyed of the field, leg and talons of the second grasping a laurel branch and seven arrows or. The entire shield shape is edged with a 1/16 inch(.16 cm) white border. Attached above the device is a designation band in scarlet inscribed "USFK" in white letters. The entire device is edged with a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) blue border.


The shield shape reflects the United States Forces Korea’s steadfast commitment to defend the sovereignty of South Korea. The abbreviation "USFK" stands for United States Forces Korea which activated on 1 July 1957. The four stars symbolize the service and contributions of the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, and the United States Marine Corps. The stylized American bald eagle represents cohesion and unity among the services. The laurel sprigs and arrows depict the mission of the United States Forces Korea to defeat aggression if necessary. Red, white, and blue are the colors of the flag of the United States of America. Red symbolizes hard work and honor, white represents innocence and purity, and blue refers to justice and perseverance. Yellow signifies wisdom and intuition.


The shoulder sleeve insignia was approved on 18 June 2012. (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-1077).[37]

See also


  1. "N.K. Commits 221 Provocations Since 1953". Korea Herald. 5 January 2011.
  2. Dick K. Nanto (18 March 2003). "Report for Congress, North Korea: Chronology of Provocations, 1950 - 2003" (PDF). Federation for American Scientists. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  3. The Reluctant Communist. Charles Robert Jenkins (University of California Press) p. 34
  4. Russell, Mark (19 October 2006), An American in North Korea, Pledging Allegiance to the Great Leader, New York Times, retrieved 28 January 2007
  5. Anderson, Robert G.; Casey Morgan (28 January 2007). "Joe Dresnok: An American In North Korea". 60 Minutes. CBS News. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  6. 1 2 Seth, Michael. "12 North Korea: Recovery, Transformation, and Decline, 1953 to 1993". A History of Korea: History to Antiquity. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  7. 1 2 "Deserter Recalls N. Korean Hell". CBS News.
  8. "Cold War Shootdowns". Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  9. 1 2 "North Korean Provocative Actions, 1950 - 2007" (PDF). United States Congress. 2007-04-20. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  10. Daniel, Bolger. "3: A Continuous Nightmare" (PDF). Scenes from an Unfinished War: Low-Intensity Conflict in Korea, 1966-1968 (PDF). Command and General Staff College. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  11. "Pueblo". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. United States Navy. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  12. "filtration of North Korean Commando Troops into Ulchin-Samchok Area". Koreascope. 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
  13. "7 GIs Die in Korean DMZ Fighting". The Hartford Courant. 17 March 1969.
  14. "North, South Trade Fire Along DMZ". VOA News. Archived from the original on 2007-10-26. Retrieved 2006-08-02.
  15. Kim, San (10 November 2009). Koreas clash in the waters west of the Korean Peninsula, blame each other. Yonhap.
  16. Foster, Peter; Moore, Malcolm (20 May 2010). "North Korea condemned by world powers over torpedo attack". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  17. Park In-kook (4 June 2010), "Letter dated 4 June 2010 from the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council" (PDF), United Nations Security Council, S/2010/281, retrieved 11 July 2010
  18. "Press Conference on Situation in Korean Peninsula: DPRK Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sin Son Ho". Department of Public Information. United Nations. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  19. "Presidential Statement: Attack on Republic of Korea Naval Ship 'Cheonan'". United Nations Security Council. United Nations. 9 July 2010. S/PRST/2010/13. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  20. "북한 해안포 도발 감행, 연평도에 포탄 100여발 떨어져". Chosun Ilbo. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  21. "GLOBAL MARKETS: European Stocks Seen Lower On Korea News". The Wall Street Journal. 23 November 2010.
  22. Gabbatt, Adam (23 November 2010). "North Korea fires on South Korea – live coverage". The Guardian. London.
  23. Gwon, Seung-jun (23 November 2010). "합참 "우리 군 대응사격으로 북한 측 피해도 상당할 것"". The Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  24. SHANKER, THOM (7 January 2014). "Additional U.S. Battalion Going to South Korea". www.nytimes.com. New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  25. Christine Ahn; Hyun Lee (21 October 2011). "Number of US Troops in South Korea". NZ-DPRKSociety. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  26. http://www.eroseffect.com/articles/neoliberalismgwangju.htm#_ednref71 Neoliberalism and the Gwangju Uprising
  27. Bruce Cumings in Lee Jai-Eui, Gwangju Diary. University of California, 1999. p. 27
  28. quoted in The Gwangju Uprising. Ed. Henry Scott-Stokes and Lee Jai-Eui, East Gate Publishing, 2000. p. 231
  29. "Anti-US protests grow in Seoul". BBC News. 8 December 2002. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  30. Franklin Fisher (13 May 2006). "Turmoil, barbed wire surround rice fields". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  31. "Ten injured in protest near U.S. military base". Joongang Daily. 8 August 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  32. "Ceremonies honor residents driven from lands slated for Humphreys expansion". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 9 April 2007.
  33. "S. Koreans rally at Camp Humphreys fence to protest U.S. presence". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 10 August 2005.
  34. "Daechuri issue sees no resolve". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  35. Sung So-young (2012-06-13). "The actual reality of interracial relationships". Joongang Daily. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  36. Kim, Soe-jung (2005-10-23). "Forum tackles overseas marriages". Joongang Daily. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
  37. The Institute of Heraldry, http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Heraldry/ArmyDUISSICOA/ArmyHeraldryUnit.aspx?u=8572
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