Retired USFK Commander Urges Deployment of U.S. Tank Battalion in South Korea

Seoul, South Korea - Retired Gen. Burwell B. Bell, a former commander of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), called for the deployment of a U.S. tank battalion to South Korea. This recommendation, aimed at bolstering defense capabilities, comes amidst concerns about North Korean military threats in the upcoming year.

According to Yonhap News Agency, who led the USFK from 2006 to 2008, emphasized the escalating challenges posed by North Korea. He stated, "Clearly, the United States needs to send a tank battalion to South Korea to fall in on prepositioned tank stocks and thus augment the Infantry Stryker brigade."

This call for reinforcement follows last year's transition of the U.S. Army's rotational force in South Korea. The U.S. Army replaced its brigade that operated M-1 Abrams tanks and M-2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles with a new brigade combat team employing the Stryker armored fighting vehicle. Despite this transition, the U.S. decided to keep the previous team's equipment, including Abrams tanks and Bradleys, on the Korean Peninsula to maintain defense capabilities.

Bell highlighted the urgency of the situation by referring to the 2010 sinking of a South Korean warship by North Korea, which resulted in 46 casualties. He described the upcoming year as presenting the "most serious" threat to peace and stability on the peninsula since that incident. Bell underscored the importance of readiness, stating, "The very best way to ensure continued peace and stability is for both Alliance members to stand together in public solidarity and simultaneously demonstrate enhanced military ground unit commitment and readiness."

The USFK, as noted in South Korea's 2022 Defense White Paper, maintains approximately 28,500 troops and around 280 armored vehicles in the region.

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