New 2nd Infantry Division commander takes reins of ‘real mission’ in South Korea
Stars and Stripes May 16, 2023
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — The former director of Army Aviation, taking command of the service’s only combined division on Tuesday, described the United States’ relationship with South Korea as the “greatest alliance in the world.”
Maj. Gen. William Taylor made the comment after taking charge of the 2nd Infantry Division from Maj. Gen. David Lesperance on Robertson Field in front of the division’s headquarters at Camp Humphreys.
Taylor, speaking to roughly 300 people, said “serving in Korea as a part of the greatest alliance in the world is truly an amazing opportunity. We have a real mission that brings us all together with a common purpose for good.”
The 12,100-strong 2nd ID is the Army’s only division that combines U.S. units with those of another nation, in this case South Korea.
Lesperance, who had led 2nd ID since May 18, 2021, will become director of operations for U.S. Forces Korea, the Combined Forces Command and United Nations Command at Humphreys.
During his farewell speech, Lesperance said he and his wife, Kelly, were “honored to call Korea our home.”
“Each of you are key members of the combined division team, sharing the camaraderie that makes us warriors,” he said.
In March, Lesperance oversaw 2nd ID’s largest joint field exercise in six years. Warrior Shield included 1,200 U.S. and South Korean soldiers from six locations on the peninsula.
U.S. and South Korean military officials described Warrior Shield and similar joint exercises as defensive measures against North Korea, which has fired 12 ballistic missiles so far this year.
Under Lesperance, 2nd ID last year began replacing its rotational armored brigade combat teams with Stryker teams.
The division’s efforts set “a standard for how units should prepare for and be ready for combat” and allow the U.S. military to develop “bilateral response options to deter” North Korea, Lesperance said in his speech.
“To all the warriors, I want you to always remember your personal efforts contribute directly to the stability and prosperity here in [South Korea],” he said.
Taylor most recently was the director of Army Aviation under the Army’s deputy chief of staff in Washington, D.C.
He was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1990 and graduated from Brigham Young University a year later, according to his Army biography.
Around 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, the majority of them at Humphreys, roughly 40 miles south of Seoul.