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US Army Pacific commander will be nominated to lead US Forces Korea, reports say

Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, speaks on video Nov. 16, 2020, during the Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar and Senior Enlisted Leaders Forum.

U.S. ARMY PACIFIC PUBLIC AFFAIRS

By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 9, 2020

A four-star Army general who led the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria may be nominated to take command of U.S. Forces Korea, according to multiple media reports.

U.S. Army Pacific commander Gen. Paul LaCamera named by the Yonhap News Agency on Friday as the likely next leader of U.S. forces on the divided peninsula is one of the Army’s most experienced combat leaders. The report cited anonymous sources.

The NK News website published a similar report on Tuesday.

However, in a statement Wednesday, USFK spokesman Col. Lee Peters said no official announcement has been made about a new commander and that the reports are speculative.

If nominated and confirmed, LaCamera will succeed Gen. Robert Abrams as commander of 28,500 American troops in South Korea, and as head of the U.N. Command and the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command. Abrams assumed those posts in November 2018.

LaCamera, when he took his post in Hawaii in November 2019, was praised by the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Philip Davidson.

“His operational experience is truly unmatched, with more than three decades of service in leadership positions within the infantry, airborne and special operations units,” Davidson said. “He has deployed for longer periods than just about anyone currently serving in the U.S. Army.”

Immediately before he took command of U.S. Army Pacific, LaCamera led America’s campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

“Under his leadership, Inherent Resolve recovered more than 100,000 square kilometers of territory across Iraq and Syria, liberating nearly 8 million people from ISIS control,” Davidson said.

LaCamera, a 1985 West Point graduate, has served with the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea, deployed to Panama, Haiti, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and was deputy commander of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii from 2010 to 2012.

LaCamera, when he took command in Hawaii, summed up his philosophy of winning in warfare.

“Combat is simple blocking and tackling, executed with discipline and leadership,” he said. “To me, we must be able to trade our equipment with the enemy and still win. That to me is leadership and training.”

robson.seth@stripes.com
Twitter: @SethRobson1