U.S. Forces Korea and United Nations Command opened their new building June 29 in a ceremony at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in the Republic of Korea.
UNC/USFK Commander General Vincent K. Brooks hosted the grand opening ceremony, and dedicated the headquarters building to Retired General John William Vessey, Jr., the first commander of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command. His son, David, was in attendance, and thanked the command for the honor bestowed on his father. Today would have been General Vessey’s 95th birthday.
The building opening and move from Seoul to Camp Humphreys signifies a new transition for the two commands which have worked out of U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan since the end of hostilities during the Korean War. It is a major milestone in the $10.7 billion transformation and relocation effort of the command as it represents the majority of USFK forces have moved out of Seoul.
In attendance were dignitaries from the seventeen sending states to the United Nations Command and the ROK Minister of Defense, Mr. Song, Young-moo.
Following the ceremony, the command dedicated an auditorium to the first four-star general in the South Korean military.
General Brooks named the Vessey Complex main auditorium for Retired Republic of Korea General Paik, Sun-yup. Paik successfully executed Operation Rat Killer in March 1952, a task to eliminate opposing forces in Jirisan, Republic of Korea, a southern mountain region.
He was appointed as the Army Chief of Staff in July 1952, at the age of 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 ROK Joints Chief of Staff and retired in 1960.