United States Forces Korea
주한 미군
Active1 July 1957 – present
(66 years, 8 months)
Country United States
TypeSubordinate unified command
Size23,468 personnel
Part of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
Headquarters Camp Humphreys, Pyeongtaek, South Korea
Commander UNC/CFC/USFK GEN Paul J. LaCamera, USA
Deputy Commander Lt Gen David R. Iverson, USAF
Command Sergeant MajorCSM Jack H. Love, USA
Distinctive unit insignia
United States Forces Korea
Revised RomanizationJuhanmigun

The United States Forces Korea (USFK) is a sub-unified command of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM). USFK is the joint headquarters for U.S. combat-ready fighting forces and components under the ROK/US Combined Forces Command (CFC) – a supreme command for all of the South Korean and U.S. ground, air, sea and special operations component commands. Major USFK elements include U.S. Eighth Army (EUSA), U.S. Air Forces Korea (Seventh Air Force), U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK), U.S. Marine Forces Korea (MARFORK) and U.S. Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR). It was established on July 1, 1957.

Its mission is to support the United Nations Command (UNC) and Combined Forces Command by coordinating and planning among U.S. component commands, and exercise operational control of U.S. forces as directed by United States Indo-Pacific Command.

USFK has Title 10 authority, which means that USFK is responsible for organizing, training and equipping U.S. forces on the Korean Peninsula so that forces are agile, adaptable and ready.

With 28,500 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in South Korea,[1] U.S. forces in South Korea are a major presence in the region and a key manifestation of the U.S. government's aim to rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific. The USFK mission also includes planning non-combatant evacuation operations to ensure that if the need arises, U.S. and other previously agreed-upon countries' citizens are removed from harm's way. To this end, USFK conducts routine exercises to ensure that this process is effective, efficient, and orderly.

With the relocation of the new USFK and UNC headquarters to Camp Humphreys (in Pyeongtaek) on 29 June 2018, the USFK command and the majority of its subordinate units have officially moved out of the city of Seoul; headquarters are now 35 km (22 mi) further south.[2]


United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command

While USFK is a separate organization from United Nations Command (UNC) and ROK/US Combined Forces Command (CFC), its mission is to support both UNC and CFC by coordinating and planning among US component commands and providing US supporting forces to the CFC. As such, USFK continues to support the ROK-US Mutual Defense Treaty.

In response to the North Korean attack against South Korea on 25 June 1950, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) established the UNC as a unified command under the US in UNSC Resolution 84 on 7 July 1950. The UNC mission was to assist South Korea to repel the attack and restore international peace and security in Korea. Throughout the war, 53 nations provided support to the UNC; 16 nations provided combat forces and five sent medical and hospital units. After three years of hostilities, the commanders of both sides signed the Armistice Agreement on 27 July 1953.

Hostilities today are also deterred by this bi-national defense team that evolved from the multi-national UNC. Established on 7 November 1978, the ROK/US Combined Forces Command (CFC) is the warfighting headquarters. Its role is to deter, or defeat if necessary, outside aggression against the ROK.

Commanders, U.S. Forces Korea

No. Commander Term Service branch
Portrait Name Took office Left office Term length
George Decker
Decker, GeorgeGeneral
George Decker
1 July 195730 June 19591 year, 364 days
U.S. Army
Carter B. Magruder
Magruder, Carter B.General
Carter B. Magruder
1 July 195930 June 19611 year, 364 days
U.S. Army
Guy S. Meloy
Meloy, Guy S.General
Guy S. Meloy
1 July 196131 July 19632 years, 30 days
U.S. Army
Hamilton H. Howze
Howze, Hamilton H.General
Hamilton H. Howze
1 August 196315 June 19651 year, 318 days
U.S. Army
Dwight E. Beach
Beach, Dwight E.General
Dwight E. Beach
16 June 196531 August 19661 year, 76 days
U.S. Army
Charles H. Bonesteel III
Bonesteel, Charles H. IIIGeneral
Charles H. Bonesteel III
1 September 196630 September 19693 years, 29 days
U.S. Army
John H. Michaelis
Michaelis, John H.General
John H. Michaelis
1 October 196931 August 19722 years, 335 days
U.S. Army
Donald V. Bennett
Bennett, Donald V.General
Donald V. Bennett
1 September 197231 July 1973333 days
U.S. Army
Richard G. Stilwell
Stilwell, Richard G.General
Richard G. Stilwell
1 August 19738 October 19763 years, 68 days
U.S. Army
John W. Vessey Jr.
Vessey, John W. Jr.General
John W. Vessey Jr.
8 October 197610 July 19792 years, 275 days
U.S. Army
John A. Wickham Jr.
Wickham, John A. Jr.General
John A. Wickham Jr.
(born 1928)
10 July 19794 June 19822 years, 329 days
U.S. Army
Robert W. Sennewald
Sennewald, Robert W.General
Robert W. Sennewald
(born 1929)
4 June 19821 June 19841 year, 363 days
U.S. Army
William J. Livsey
Livsey, William J.General
William J. Livsey
1 June 198425 June 19873 years, 24 days
U.S. Army
Louis C. Menetrey Jr.
Menetrey, Louis C. Jr.General
Louis C. Menetrey Jr.
25 June 198726 June 19903 years, 1 day
U.S. Army
Robert W. RisCassi
RisCassi, Robert W.General
Robert W. RisCassi
(born 1936)
26 June 199015 June 19932 years, 354 days
U.S. Army
Gary E. Luck
Luck, Gary E.General
Gary E. Luck
(born 1937)
15 June 19939 July 19963 years, 24 days
U.S. Army
John H. Tilelli Jr.
Tilelli, John H. Jr.General
John H. Tilelli Jr.
(born 1941)
9 July 19969 December 19993 years, 153 days
U.S. Army
Thomas A. Schwartz
Schwartz, Thomas A.General
Thomas A. Schwartz
(born 1945)
9 December 19991 May 20022 years, 143 days
U.S. Army
Leon J. LaPorte
LaPorte, Leon J.General
Leon J. LaPorte
(born 1946)
1 May 20023 February 20063 years, 278 days
U.S. Army
B.B. Bell
Bell, B.B.General
B.B. Bell
(born 1947)
3 February 20063 June 20082 years, 121 days
U.S. Army
Walter L. Sharp
Sharp, Walter L.General
Walter L. Sharp
(born 1952)
3 June 200814 July 20113 years, 41 days
U.S. Army
James D. Thurman
Thurman, James D.General
James D. Thurman
(born 1953)
14 July 201112 October 20132 years, 80 days
U.S. Army
Curtis M. Scaparrotti
Scaparrotti, Curtis M.General
Curtis M. Scaparrotti
(born 1956)
2 October 201330 April 20162 years, 211 days
U.S. Army
Vincent K. Brooks
Brooks, Vincent K.General
Vincent K. Brooks
(born 1958)
30 April 20168 November 20182 years, 192 days
U.S. Army
Robert B. Abrams
Abrams, Robert B.General
Robert B. Abrams
(born 1960)
8 November 20182 July 20212 years, 236 days
U.S. Army
Paul LaCamera
LaCamera, Paul J.General
Paul LaCamera
(born 1963)
2 July 2021Incumbent2 years, 257 days
U.S. Army


The following is a partial list of border incidents involving North Korea since the Armistice Agreement of 27 July 1953, ended large scale military action of the Korean War. Most of these incidents took place near either the Korean Demilitarized Zone or the Northern Limit Line. This list includes engagements on land, air and sea but does not include alleged incursions and terrorist incidents that occurred away from the border.

Many of the incidents occurring at sea are due to border disputes. The North claims jurisdiction over a large area south of the disputed western maritime border, the Northern Limit Line in the waters west of the Korean Peninsula. This is a prime fishing area, particularly for crabs, and clashes commonly occur. In addition, the North claims its territorial waters extend for 50 nautical miles (90 km) from the coast, rather than the 12 nautical miles (22 km) recognized by other countries. According to the 5 January 2011 Korea Herald, since July 1953 North Korea has violated the armistice 221 times, including 26 military attacks.[9]



Sgt. Charles Jenkins in 2007.

See also: Korean DMZ Conflict


Axe murder incident on 18 August 1976.





Number of U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea by year

Year Number
1950 510
1951 42,069
1952 326,863
1953 326,863
1954 225,590
1955 75,328
1956 68,813
1957 71,045
1958 46,024
1959 49,827
1960 55,864
1961 57,694
1962 60,947
1963 56,910
1964 62,596
1965 58,636
1966 47,076
1967 55,057
1968 62,263
1969 66,531
1970 52,197
1971 40,740
1972 41,600
1973 41,864
1974 40,387
1975 40,204
1976 39,133
1977 40,705
1978 41,565
1979 39,018
1980 38,780
1981 38,254
1982 39,194
1983 38,705
1984 40,785
1985 41,718
1986 43,133
1987 44,674
1988 45,501
1989 44,461
1990 41,344
1991 40,062
1992 35,743
1993 34,830
1994 36,796
1995 36,016
1996 36,539
1997 35,663
1998 36,890
1999 35,913
2000 36,565
2001 37,605
2002 37,743
2003 41,145
2004 40,840
2005 30,983
2020 28,500


This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "United States Forces Korea" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Each year the ROK, the US and a selection of Sending States from the United Nations Command participate in multiple defense-oriented, combined and joint training events designed to defend the Republic of Korea, protect the region, and maintain and increase stability on the Korean peninsula.

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress conducted a low-level flight in the vicinity of Osan Air Base, South Korea.

Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, Key Resolve, and Foal Eagle, in addition to multiple Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) Drills, are the three theater level exercises.

In June 2018 the South Korea and the US claimed they are ready to stop the conducting of military drills in order to create significant opportunities for the negotiations with DPRK.[36]

Shoulder sleeve insignia


A shield-shaped embroidered device 3+18 inches (7.9 cm) in height and 2+12 inches (6.4 cm) in width overall blazoned: azure, in chief four mullets bendwise argent, all above a stylized American bald eagle, issuant from sinister base volant to dexter chief; the eagle's body gules surmounted by two bendlets, wider at base, of the second throughout; head of the second, eyed of the field, leg and talons of the second grasping a laurel branch and seven arrows or. The entire shield shape is edged with a 116-inch (0.16 cm) white border. Attached above the device is a designation band in scarlet inscribed "USFK" in white letters. The entire device is edged with a 18-inch (0.32 cm) blue border.


The shield shape reflects the United States Forces Korea's steadfast commitment to defend the sovereignty of South Korea. The abbreviation "USFK" stands for United States Forces Korea which activated on 1 July 1957. The four stars symbolize the service and contributions of the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, and the United States Marine Corps. The stylized American bald eagle represents cohesion and unity among the services. The laurel sprigs and arrows depict the mission of the United States Forces Korea to defeat aggression if necessary. Red, white, and blue are the colors of the flag of the United States of America. Red symbolizes hard work and honor, white represents innocence and purity, and blue refers to justice and perseverance. Yellow signifies wisdom and intuition.


The shoulder sleeve insignia was approved on 18 June 2012. (TIOH Dwg. No. A-1-1077).[37]


Further information: Gwangju Uprising, Prostitutes in South Korea for the U.S. military, U.S.–South Korea Status of Forces Agreement, and Yangju highway incident

United States Forces Korea warns American soldiers not to hire prostitutes or get involved in human trafficking.
South Koreans protest the expansion of Camp Humphreys in 2006.

Gwangju Uprising

The 1980s marked a surge in anti-Americanism in Korea, widely traced to the events of May 1980.[38]

Gwangju convinced a new generation of young [Koreans] that the democratic movement had developed not with the support of Washington, as an older generation of more conservative Koreans thought, but in the face of daily American support for any dictator who could quell the democratic aspirations of the Korean people. The result was an anti-American movement in the 1980s that threatened to bring down the whole structure of American support for the ROK. American cultural centers were burned to the ground (more than once in Gwangju); students immolated themselves in protest of Reagan's support for Chun [Doo-hwan].[39]

Fundamental to this movement was a perception of U.S. complicity in Chun's rise to power, and, more particularly, in the Gwangju massacre itself. These matters remain controversial. It is clear, for example, that the U.S. authorized the Korean Army's 20th Division to re-take Gwangju – as acknowledged in a 1982 letter to the New York Times by then-Ambassador Gleysteen.

[General Wickham], with my concurrence, permitted transfer of well-trained troops of the twentieth R.O.K.A. Division from martial-law duty in Seoul to Gwangju because law and order had to be restored in a situation that had run amok following the outrageous behavior of the Korean Special Forces, which had never been under General Wickham's command.[40]

However, as Gwangju Uprising editors Scott-Stokes and Lee note, whether the expulsion of government troops left the situation lawless or "amok" is very much open to dispute.

21st century

In 2002, anti-American sentiment in South Korea spiked after two U.S. soldiers in an M60 armored vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB) accidentally hit and killed two South Korean teenage girls in the Yangju highway incident.[41]

An expansion of Camp Humphreys later in the decade served as a catalyst for the Daechuri Protests, drawing thousands of South Korean citizens,[42] resulting in occasional violent clashes and arrests.[43] Following a series of large protests against the U.S. and Republic of Korea governments' plan to expand Camp Humphreys and make it the main base for most U.S. troops in South Korea, residents of Daechuri and other small villages near Pyeongtaek agreed to a government settlement to leave their homes in 2006 and allow the base's expansion.[44][45] Compensation for the land averaged 600 million won (about US$600,000) per resident.[46]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, members of USFK, and other foreign nationals were reported to have no-mask parties at Haeundae Beach in Busan for the Independence Day of 2020,[47] and the Memorial Day of 2021, despite local social distancing restrictions.[48] They engaged in unruly behavior, which included playing loud music, heavy drinking, and the shooting of firecrackers at locals.[49]

Relationships between U.S. soldiers and South Korean women

Western princesses (prostitutes servicing U.S. soldiers) have resulted in a negative image for South Korean women who have relationships with American men.[50][51]

See also


  1. ^ a b Work, Clint (25 August 2020). "How to Constructively and Safely Reduce and Realign US Forces on the Korean Peninsula". 38 North. The Henry L. Stimson Center. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  2. ^ UNC and USFK Open New Headquarters Building Retrieved 2 July 2018
  3. ^ "Home page of Eighth Army". Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Home". cnrk.cnic.navy.mil. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  5. ^ "U.S. Marine Corps Forces Korea". www.marfork.marines.mil. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Pages - SOCKOR Home". www.socom.mil. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Home page of 7th Air Force". www.7af.pacaf.af.mil. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  8. ^ Lendon, Brad (14 December 2022). "US Space Force establishes first foreign command in South Korea as threat from North grows". CNN.
  9. ^ "N.K. Commits 221 Provocations Since 1953". Korea Herald. 5 January 2011. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  10. ^ Dick K. Nanto (18 March 2003). "Report for Congress, North Korea: Chronology of Provocations, 1950 - 2003" (PDF). Federation for American Scientists. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  11. ^ The Reluctant Communist. Charles Robert Jenkins (University of California Press) p. 34
  12. ^ Russell, Mark (19 October 2006). "An American in North Korea, Pledging Allegiance to the Great Leader". New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2007.
  13. ^ Anderson, Robert G.; Casey Morgan (28 January 2007). "Joe Dresnok: An American in North Korea". 60 Minutes. CBS News. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  14. ^ a b Seth, Michael. "12 North Korea: Recovery, Transformation, and Decline, 1953 to 1993". A History of Korea: History to Antiquity. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  15. ^ a b "Deserter Recalls N. Korean Hell". CBS News.
  16. ^ "Cold War Shootdowns". Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  17. ^ a b "North Korean Provocative Actions, 1950 - 2007" (PDF). United States Congress. 20 April 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.
  18. ^ Daniel, Bolger. "3: A Continuous Nightmare" (PDF). Scenes from an Unfinished War: Low-Intensity Conflict in Korea, 1966-1968 (PDF). Command and General Staff College. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  19. ^ "Pueblo". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. United States Navy. Archived from the original on 8 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2007.
  20. ^ "filtration of North Korean Commando Troops into Ulchin-Samchok Area". Koreascope. 31 August 2006. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
  21. ^ "7 GIs Die in Korean DMZ Fighting". The Hartford Courant. 17 March 1969.
  22. ^ "North, South Trade Fire Along DMZ". VOA News. Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2006.
  23. ^ Kim, San (10 November 2009). Koreas clash in the waters west of the Korean Peninsula, blame each other. Yonhap.
  24. ^ Foster, Peter; Moore, Malcolm (20 May 2010). "North Korea condemned by world powers over torpedo attack". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  25. ^ Park In-kook (4 June 2010). "Letter dated 4 June 2010 from the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council" (PDF). United Nations Security Council. S/2010/281. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  26. ^ "Press Conference on Situation in Korean Peninsula: DPRK Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sin Son Ho". Department of Public Information. United Nations. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  27. ^ "Presidential Statement: Attack on Republic of Korea Naval Ship 'Cheonan'". United Nations Security Council. United Nations. 9 July 2010. S/PRST/2010/13. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  28. ^ "북한 해안포 도발 감행, 연평도에 포탄 100여발 떨어져". Chosun Ilbo. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  29. ^ "GLOBAL MARKETS: European Stocks Seen Lower on Korea News". The Wall Street Journal. 23 November 2010.
  30. ^ Gabbatt, Adam (23 November 2010). "North Korea fires on South Korea – live coverage". The Guardian. London.
  31. ^ Gwon, Seung-jun (23 November 2010). "합참 "우리 군 대응사격으로 북한 측 피해도 상당할 것"". The Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  32. ^ SHANKER, THOM (7 January 2014). "Additional U.S. Battalion Going to South Korea". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  33. ^ Bosco, Joseph (24 January 2020). "South Korea and the billion mustache". The Hill. Washington DC. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  34. ^ Kuhn, Anthony (1 April 2020). "U.S. Military In South Korea Faces Double Blow Of Korean Staff Furloughs And COVID-19". National Public Radio. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  35. ^ Kane, Tim (24 May 2006). "Global U.S. Troop Deployment, 1950-2005". The Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  36. ^ "US to suspend military exercises with South Korea, Trump says". TheGuardian.com. 12 June 2018.
  37. ^ The Institute of Heraldry
  38. ^ http://www.eroseffect.com/articles/neoliberalismgwangju.htm#_ednref71 Archived 13 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine Neoliberalism and the Gwangju Uprising
  39. ^ Bruce Cumings in Lee Jai-Eui, Gwangju Diary. University of California, 1999. p. 27
  40. ^ quoted in The Gwangju Uprising. Ed. Henry Scott-Stokes and Lee Jai-Eui, East Gate Publishing, 2000. p. 231
  41. ^ "Anti-US protests grow in Seoul". BBC News. 8 December 2002. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  42. ^ Franklin Fisher (13 May 2006). "Turmoil, barbed wire surround rice fields". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  43. ^ "Ten injured in protest near U.S. military base". Joongang Daily. 8 August 2005. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  44. ^ "Ceremonies honor residents driven from lands slated for Humphreys expansion". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 9 April 2007.
  45. ^ "S. Koreans rally at Camp Humphreys fence to protest U.S. presence". Stars and Stripes. Retrieved 10 August 2005.
  46. ^ "Daechuri issue sees no resolve". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  47. ^ "U.S. military officials in Korea apologize after July 4th party gets out of hand". The Washington Post. 7 July 2020.
  48. ^ "USFK members, foreigners hold no-mask parties on Busan beach amid pandemic". Yonhap News Agency. 30 May 2021.
  49. ^ "USFK officials express regrets over July 4 beach incident in South Korea". Military Times. 7 July 2020.
  50. ^ Sung So-young (13 June 2012). "The actual reality of interracial relationships". Joongang Daily. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
  51. ^ Kim, Soe-jung (23 October 2005). "Forum tackles overseas marriages". Joongang Daily. Retrieved 12 April 2013.