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GEN Abrams-Remarks Change of Command Ceremony

| Nov. 7, 2018

CAMP HUMPHREYS, PYEONGTAEK, Republic of Korea —

To all our distinguished guests already recognized by the previous speakers; to all the ambassadors and representatives from the UN sending states; to the command teams from across all three commands; to all of you ladies and gentlemen….good morning! Anyong-haseyo! (An-yah Ha-say-yo). Thank you for honoring us with your attendance today—your presence sends a clear message to the world of the importance of these commands….and they roles they play in not only the security of the Republic of Korea, but of all of northeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific region.

Connie and I are excited to be here and I’m honored to have this opportunity to lead this one of a kind, triple-hatted command – a unique joint and combined force that draws its strength from our ironclad relationship with the Republic of Korea - and the commitment of the United Nations.

Minister Jeong—thank you for officiating this ceremony, and thank you for your leadership both in your previous job as the ROK CJCS and now as the Minister of Defense.

GEN Selva—thanks to you and Rikki for making the long run from Washington DC to be with us today and officiating. Your advocacy and support to these commands has been essential so thank you….

Admiral Davidson—thank you for officiating today and your leadership of INDO-PACOM and your commitment to USFK and all things supporting our efforts here on the peninsula.

As you have heard all the previous speakers state: UNC/CFC/USFK are critically important to our shared interests in the defense of the Korean Peninsula and security of the region.

UN Command…Combined Forces Command….US FORCES Korea….

All three commands are bound by deep, enduring relationships – commitment to each other… which is critical to the success of their missions.

This importance of these commitments are revealed in a centuries old story, well-known across many cultures. A man, nearing death, requested his sons to bring him a bundle of sticks. He ordered them to break the bundle with their hands…no one succeeded. The man told them to untie the bundle and take one stick to break….each one stick broke easily. He said to them, “if you stick together and help each other, it is impossible for your enemies to injure you…if you are divided amongst yourselves, you will be no stronger than a single stick in that bundle.”

In Unity is Strength… and strong relationships are built on a foundation of trust… the nature of military operations requires a deep commitment to that trust…and, we can only move at the “speed of trust.”

I am committed to continue building on our special relationships with the Republic of Korea and each of the U.N. sending states and their national contingents as we work together to in our collective missions for a peaceful and secure Korean peninsula.

For 65 years, these commands have ably challenged adversaries, deterred aggression, preserved the armistice, and have skillfully built pathways towards peaceful growth.

The current conditions on the Peninsula are as dynamic as ever. As we pursue opportunities, it is our military responsibility to maintain a high level of readiness and “Fight Tonight” capability so that we can not only deter but defeat external threats if called upon. I support the four long-standing UNC/CFC/USFK priorities until otherwise directed.

I look forward to serving with Ambassador Harry Harris, and our great country team in maintaining strong partnerships with the government of the Republic of Korea and her people.

To the combined Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Special Operations, U.S. Government and Korean service civilians – you are what gives these commands their real strength. I am eager to visit you all and observe firsthand the high readiness these commands are renowned for. For those servicemembers representing the command on the field, you look good out there today…you make this ceremony special.

To General Vince Brooks and Carol--- Congratulations on an incredible command tour. Your leadership has been essential to helping us get to a point today that was unimaginable years ago. Thank you for your leadership, selfless service, and many sacrifices…and your courage. Connie and I both wish your family continued success and happiness in retirement.

In closing, I want to again thank you all for attending this morning…and for your dedication to our ROK-U.S. combined forces, UNC Multinational Forces and our US Joint Forces. Connie and I are both honored to join the UNC/CFC/USFK team.

God bless you and God bless our ROK, U.S., and UN forces. Kamsamnida (Kaam saam knee da)…Thank you! Katchi Kapshida! (Caught she Cop she da)