SEOUL — The 8th U.S. Army will stay in South Korea after the country takes over wartime control of all military forces on the peninsula in 2012, but its headquarters could move elsewhere, an 8th Army spokesman said Monday.

“We were never going to leave,” said Maj. Jerome Pionk.

“The 8th Army has not been deactivated and will not go anywhere.”

Pionk said the 8th Army’s administrative offices could move out of South Korea as part of a worldwide transformation of the U.S. military, but a decision has not been made.

“It will still be 8th Army, but you might have the headquarters flag somewhere else,” he said. “From day to day, nothing will look different to normal people.”

Other units, including some in Iraq, have soldiers stationed on the ground but their headquarters elsewhere, Pionk said.

At least three South Korean newspapers reported Monday that U.S. military officials had decided to keep the 8th Army on the peninsula, but Pionk said U.S. officials never considered moving it.

A spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense said he could not comment on the reports.

U.S. military bases in and north of Seoul are scheduled to relocate to Camp Humphreys by 2012 as the U.S. consolidates its forces in South Korea.

South Korea is slated to take full wartime command from the Combined Forces Command at 10 a.m. on April 17, 2012. Senior U.S. and South Korean military officials signed an agreement in late June that outlines the transfer of operational wartime command on the peninsula.

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