8th Army commander envisions more Americans in S. Korea
August 17, 2008
SEOUL — The 8th Army commander told 77 incoming DODDS teachers on Friday that there won’t be a drawdown of United States troops from South Korea.
"In fact, we’re going to pick up the force level a bit," he said.
Lt. Gen. Joseph Fil Jr.’s comments come about four months after South Korean president Lee Myung-bak and President Bush agreed to pause a drawdown of U.S. troops in South Korea, keeping the number at approximately 28,000.
That number was scheduled to drop to 25,000 by the end of the year, when the drawdown was scheduled to end.
The U.S. and South Korea agreed to the drawdown in 2004, when the United States had 38,500 troops stationed in South Korea.
U.S. Forces Korea spokesman David Palmer said Fil was probably referring to the increased number of family members who will accompany servicemembers to South Korea in coming years as tours become normalized.
That means more troops will serve in South Korea for three years and be allowed to bring their families, instead of serving on one-year unaccompanied tours.
Fil, who spoke at an orientation for Department of Defense Dependents Schools teachers new to South Korea, told the teachers that normalizing tours would "change the whole complexion of life here in Korea," requiring the military to build new schools and day care facilities to handle the extra family members.
He also said that if North Korea attacked South Korea, the communist nation would lose and the two countries would be reunified.
"There is no doubt, if the North Koreans decide to cause trouble, what the outcome will be. No doubt at all," Fil said.