Dunford Salutes U
Dunford Salutes U.S., South
Korean Troops on DMZ Duty
By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media
Panmunjom, South Korea — (DoD
News) — November 2, 2015 — For two days in Seoul, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph
F. Dunford Jr. participated in meetings to strengthen the U.S.-South Korean
defense alliance. At the end of the meetings, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff traveled 35 miles north to the Demilitarized Zone here between North
and South Korea to see why this effort is so important, and to thank the
American and South Korean soldiers who man “the front line of freedom.”
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. is briefed by Col. James Minnich, secretary of the UNMAC
Dunford came face-to-face with North Korean soldiers during his visit to the
Joint Security Area. As his party arrived at the South Korean Freedom House,
North Korean soldiers came from their headquarters. The chairman and his party
went to the line separating North and South Korea and the North Korean soldiers
approached, taking pictures of the American leader.
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. listens to a SK soldier brief during a trip to the
A Silent Encounter
Dunford listened as Army Col. James Minnich, the secretary of the United
Nations Command Military Armistice Commission, explained the workings of the
Joint Security Area. All the while, North Korean soldiers stood about eight feet
away, snapping more pictures. Not a word was exchanged between the two sides.
When Dunford went in to the JSA conference room, North Korean soldiers peered in
through the windows.
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., 19th Chairman of the JCS, is briefed by Col. James Minnich
Before moving to the Truce Village, Dunford visited with U.S. and South
Korean soldiers who serve together as part of the Joint Security Area Battalion.
The general thanked the soldiers for their service in the area.
Serving on the DMZ “is tough duty” that requires discipline and
around-the-clock readiness, Dunford told the soldiers.
The expectation on the DMZ, he added, is that “if something happens you are
going to respond in minutes -- not next week, not next month -- but in minutes.
The expectation is that you’ll be ready.”
It is tense on the DMZ, where U.S. and South Korean soldiers always keep a
“They are game-on every day and that’s the expectation -- that they can fight
tonight and they can fight tonight and win,” Dunford said.
Coming to the DMZ also allows the general the opportunity to walk the ground
and visualize it. “It reminds you of the challenge we have up here and the
expectation of just being ready in case something happens,” he said.
Dunford said seeing the combined unit of U.S. and South Korean soldiers
reminded him of how close the partnership between the two countries is. “There
is probably not another organization out there with the level of integration we
have up here along the DMZ in the security battalion,” he said.
The combined unit, he said, is a microcosm of the U.S.-South Korean alliance.
Dunford visited the DMZ the day after Defense Secretary Ash Carter did the
same. Their visits illustrate the importance the United States places on the
alliance with South Korea and on Asia as a whole, the general said.
During his first month as chairman, Dunford said, he
estimates that he spent 50 percent of his time on Asia-Pacific issues. “This is
only my second visit outside the United States and it’s here in Korea, so I
think that reflects the importance of the Pacific to the United States,” he said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
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Related Biographies :
Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.
Related Links :
Special Report: DoD Focus on Asia-Pacific Rebalance
Chairman, South Korean Counterpart Discuss Progress
Dunford Heads to Seoul for Military, Security Meetings