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Gen. Robert Abrams nominated to take over as top US commander in South Korea

Gen. Robert Abrams, the head of Army Forces Command, has been nominated to be the next commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

U.S. ARMY PHOTO

By KIM GAMEL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 16, 2018

SEOUL, South Korea — Gen. Robert Abrams, the head of Army Forces Command, has been nominated to be the next commander of U.S. Forces Korea, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

If confirmed, Abrams would replace Gen. Vincent Brooks at the helm of some 28,500 American troops based in South Korea at a pivotal time as Seoul and Washington are engaged in diplomatic efforts to persuade the North to give up its nuclear weapons.

The four-star general, also known by his nickname Abe, was listed as the nominee to be the commander of USFK as well as the United Nations Command and the Combined Forces Command on the Senate Armed Services Committee website. It said he will face a confirmation hearing on Sept. 25.

USFK’s public affairs office said Monday that it was aware of the nomination but would have no comment on Abrams' or Brooks’ plans pending the confirmation hearing.

Brooks has presided over U.S. military efforts in South Korea since April 2016, a period that has seen tensions with the North that raised fears of a nuclear war before ebbing after the North agreed earlier this year to engage in diplomacy.

Abrams currently leads FORSCOM, which is based at Fort Bragg, N.C. and is the largest organization in the Army with more than 750,000 active duty and reserve component soldiers. He assumed that command in August 2015 and previously served as senior military assistant to the defense secretary.

He also played a key role in the court-martial of Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl, the former Taliban captive who pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior charges last year.

Abrams, the convening authority in the high-profile proceedings, approved the judge’s decision to spare Bergdahl prison time but to sentence him to forfeit $10,000 in pay, a drop in rank and a dishonorable discharge.

His official biography says he earned his commission from the U.S. Military Academy in 1982 and has led units in combat operations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Born in Germany, Abrams was the third member of his immediate family to earn four stars.

His father was Gen. Creighton W. Abrams Jr., who served as Army chief of staff from October 1972 until his death in September 1974 and was the namesake of the M1 Abrams tank. His brother, retired Gen. John N. Abrams, the former commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, died last month. His other brother is retired Brig. Gen. Creighton W. Abrams Jr.

gamel.kim@stripes.com
Twitter: @kimgamel

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Gen. Vincent Brooks, leader of U.S. Forces Korea, the United Nations Command and the Combined Forces Command, attends a press conference at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents' Club, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018.
KIM GAMEL/STARS AND STRIPES

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