Maintaining a high state of military readiness is imperative to deterring North Korean threats in the region, the 8th U.S. Army’s deputy commander said Aug. 10.
“North Korea continues to threaten the peninsula and the region with its provocative actions and rhetoric as well as its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” Army Maj. Gen. Walter M. Golden Jr. said during his welcoming ceremony on Yongsan Garrison.
The 8th U.S. Army has partnered with South Korea to deter threats from Pyongyang for more than 60 years, the two-star general said.
“As the U.S. military shifts its focus to the Pacific, this mission remains as important as ever,” said Golden, who hails from Salida, Colo. “Deterring aggression requires a very high state of readiness and that is why it is imperative that we train together with our ROK allies as often as possible to maintain that level of readiness.”
Golden reported to 8th Army following his assignment as the deputy commander for police with the NATO training mission in Afghanistan.
Senior officials attended Golden’s welcoming ceremony, including the ROK Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Park Sung-choon, Dongducheon Mayor Oh Se-chang and Army Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea.
The Dongducheon mayor had named Golden an honorary citizen of his city, which is adjacent to Camp Casey, during Golden’s previous tour of duty when he was the assistant commander for maneuver with the 2nd Infantry Division.
Golden “will play a crucial role on the 8th Army command team as we continue to defend liberty here with our ROK allies,” said Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, 8th Army’s commanding general.
An Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot and Harvard graduate, Golden said he jumped at the opportunity to serve in South Korea again.
South Korea “is one of America’s greatest allies and the ROK-U.S. alliance is the strongest military alliance in the world,” Golden said. “Today, this modern, democratic and prosperous nation serves as a great example of what free people can accomplish together.”