Korea — Top U.S. commander asks Pentagon for more weapons

On June 12, Gen. James D. Thur­man (pic­tured), Com­man­der of the ROK‑U.S. Com­bined Forces Com­mand (CFC), said he has request­ed the U.S. Depart­ment of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea to send one more heli­copter squadron and bol­ster mis­sile defense capa­bil­i­ties of the Unit­ed States Forces Korea (USFK) in terms of increas­ing its mil­i­tary pow­er to deter provo­ca­tions from North Korea.

Source: MND, Repub­lic of Korea
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Gen. Thur­man spoke on the morn­ing of the same day of his request at a break­fast forum host­ed by the Asso­ci­a­tion of ROK Army, which is chaired by a war vet­er­an and for­mer gen­er­al Paik Seon-yeop.

“In order to enhance com­bat capa­bil­i­ties, I have asked addi­tion­al troops and equip­ment to be sent to the U.S. 2nd Divi­sion and 35th Com­bat Avi­a­tion Brigade,” the com­man­der said. “And I have asked for pri­or­i­ty to receive an addi­tion­al attack-recon­nais­sance squadron to bring to our USFK.”

The U.S. gen­er­al was refer­ring to a squadron of Apache attack heli­copters that had been deployed to South Korea but was sent to Iraq dur­ing the war there and has not returned, plus bal­lis­tic mis­siles capa­ble of coun­ter­ing North Kore­an mis­siles, said an anony­mous source at USFK.

It is the first time for a CFC com­man­der to open­ly say he has asked the U.S. mil­i­tary author­i­ties to bring one more heli­copter squadron and increased bal­lis­tic mis­siles to the U.S. forces in South Korea.

The U.S. Forces in Korea at the start oper­at­ed three heli­copter squadrons, but cut two in 2004 and 2009 and cur­rent­ly has only one 24-heli­copter squadron. The 35th Com­bat Avi­a­tion Brigade has two patri­ot mis­sile squadrons capa­ble of inter­cept­ing North Kore­an bal­lis­tic mis­siles.

Min­istry of Nation­al Defense[MND], Repub­lic of Korea