SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 15, 2010 — The top U.S. and U.N. commander here marked the 60th anniversary of a major Korean War amphibious operation by calling on North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and halt provocations against South Korea.
Army Gen. Walter L. “Skip” Sharp paid tribute to South Korean, U.S. and U.N. forces for their role 60 years ago today in the famed Inchon Landing, and pledged to ensure their sacrifices endure.
“We honor the past sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans by remembering and remaining prepared to deter future provocations and aggressions,” Sharp told about 2,500 Korean War veterans, government officials and local residents gathered along the Inchon shoreline.
Sharp noted North Korea’s sinking of the South Korean navy frigate Cheonan in March that left 46 sailors dead.
“As the recent North Korean attack on the Cheonan reminds us, we must always remain strong and vigilant to ensure that what you brave men and women and those who made the ultimate sacrifice fought for will be protected for the future generations,” he told the audience.
Earlier today, Sharp joined South Korean and U.N. military and political leaders in casting floral wreaths honoring those sacrifices from the bow of the South Korean amphibious landing ship Dokdo.
Sharp pledged that United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and the South Korean‑U.S. alliance will “redouble our efforts to be prepared to deter and to defeat any type of provocation from North Korea.”
Sharp paid tribute to the Korean War veterans who repelled the North Korean attack 60 years ago, paving the way for South Korea to become a democracy and “one of the great economic successes of our time.”
“Fighting shoulder to shoulder, Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen from the Republic of Korea and the United Nations sending states stopped the North Korean attack and turned them back,” he said at a dinner the South Korean government hosted last night to honor veterans attending 60th anniversary commemorations.
“Tonight we commemorate one of the boldest operations conducted in U.S. military history: the Inchon Landing,” he said. “This history-making operation not only helped to turn the tide of the war, but it highlighted the kind of cooperation between our services and between the nations that continue to help keep the Republic of Korea free today.
“We are all honored to be in your presence here tonight,” he continued. “The real guests of honor tonight are those of you from the many nations who have returned to this land that you fought for 60 years ago. The sacrifices that you and your fallen comrades made are the real reason the people of the Republic of Korea enjoy the freedom that we all share today.”
Sharp also praised the “strong, dedicated, professional” South Korean military, and said he’s confident the South Korean‑U.S. alliance “is prepared to defeat any future provocation.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)