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SEOUL — The top U.S. commander in South Korea encouraged the military community to celebrate Labor Day weekend safely.

“Avoid excesses and act responsibly,” U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Leon J. LaPorte wrote in a column in the Morning Calm military newspaper.

“Enjoy your holiday and return to work or to school refreshed, recharged and ready to face new challenges.”

The Labor Day weekend comes at the end of Ulchi Focus Lens, the Combined Forces Command’s “premier training event,” according to LaPorte.

“Over the past 10 days I have observed outstanding effort and superb execution in support of this important exercise,” he wrote.

LaPorte added that the command is now better trained and prepared to deter aggression and maintain stability on the peninsula.

“I applaud every member of the USFK team for their contributions to a job well done,” he wrote.

Brig. gen. nominationCAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — The 2nd Infantry Division’s assistant division commander (support), Col. William H. Forrester Jr., has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general.

The nomination was announced in a Department of Defense news release on Wednesday.

Forrester, who arrived in South Korea in June, is from Pulaski, Tenn.

He enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 1973.

After basic training, he attended the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1978 as an infantry officer.

Protests plannedSEOUL — Many South Korean civic groups are planning protests across the country Thursday, the 60th anniversary of the arrival of U.S. troops on the South Korean peninsula.

Two groups, the National People Association and the Unification Association, will protest outside the U.S. Embassy on Thursday.

Other groups will protest outside of Chinhae Naval Base and Camp Hialeah.

The groups oppose the continuing presence of U.S. military forces in South Korea.

No uranium, no worriesCAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — U.S. Forces Korea said Friday that firefighters at Rodriguez Range can stop taking precautions against depleted uranium — such munitions have never been used in South Korea.

In a Stars and Stripes story last week, Camp Casey Garrison fire chief Jerry Epperson and South Korean firefighters at the range expressed concerns about the risk from old depleted uranium rounds.

Epperson claimed depleted uranium rounds had been used at the range in the 1990s and that firefighters take precautions to avoid exposure when battling blazes there.

However, USFK spokesman David Oten said Friday that depleted uranium rounds have never been used in South Korea.

Oten said the firefighters may have been misled by numerous South Korean media reports that he said have inaccurately stated that such rounds were used.

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