U.S. Forces Korea Opens New Headquarters

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea --

U.S. Forces Korea and United Nations Command opened a new headquarters building here June 29.

Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of USFK and United Nations Command, hosted the opening ceremony and dedicated the headquarters building to Army Gen. John William Vessey Jr., the first commander of Combined Forces Command. Vessey’s son, David, was in attendance, and thanked the command for the honor bestowed on his father. June 29 would have been Vessey’s 95th birthday.

The move from Seoul to Camp Humphreys signifies a transition for the two commands, which have been based at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan since the end of hostilities in the Korean War. It is a major milestone in the $10.7 billion transformation and relocation effort of the command, officials said, as it means the majority of USFK troops have moved out of Seoul.

In attendance were dignitaries from the 17 sending states to the United Nations Command and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo.

Following the ceremony, the command dedicated an auditorium to the first four-star general in the South Korean military, Gen. Paik Sun-yup. Paik successfully executed Operation Rat Killer in March 1952, a task to eliminate opposing forces in the southern mountain region of Jirisan, South Korea.

He was appointed as the Army Chief of Staff in July 1952, at age 32. Six months later, he was promoted to the rank of general, making him the first four-star general in the South Korean military. He later was named as the chairman for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff and retired in 1960.