News / USA

Head of US Special Forces in Seoul Hands Over Command

USFK commander Gen. James Thurman is flanked by the incoming special operations commander, Brig. Gen. Eric Wendt (left) and Wendt's predecessor, Brig. Gen. Neil Tolley (right).(VOA/Steve Herman)
USFK commander Gen. James Thurman is flanked by the incoming special operations commander, Brig. Gen. Eric Wendt (left) and Wendt's predecessor, Brig. Gen. Neil Tolley (right).(VOA/Steve Herman)
— The head of U.S. special forces in South Korea has handed over command to his successor. The Brigadier General Neil Tolley generated controversy earlier this year when he made a comment construed as revealing American military personnel had clandestinely infiltrated North Korea.

The 8th Army marching band plays "The Ballad of the Green Beret" at the change of command ceremony Tuesday at the U.S. Army's Yongsan Garrison.

Brigadier General Eric Wendt is succeeding Brigadier General Neil Tolley as head of Special Operations Command Korea. 

At the ceremony, the commander of U.S. Forces in the country, General James Thurman, praised the outgoing special operations leader for improving the capability of his troops.

“Brigadier General Tolley applied the lessons he learned as an army Green Beret in combat to improve our alliance's special operations capabilities, combined doctrine and the tactics, techniques and procedures to execute unconventional warfare ensuring that we are prepared to face the challenges posed by an evolving North Korea threat," said General Thurman.

No mention was made at the ceremony of the controversy that had cast the relatively obscure general into the headlines.

During a panel discussion at a conference in Florida this past May, Tolley said U.S. and South Korean troops had been parachuting into North Korea.

The Pentagon later acknowledged Tolley was quoted correctly but that he had misspoken. U.S. Defense Department officials categorically denied that there had been any such clandestine missions, which would have constituted a violation of the 1953 Korea armistice.

Within days after the controversy erupted over Tolley's remarks, the military announced he was being replaced. But officials say the transition had been in the works for some time and the general was not relieved of his command because of his inaccurate public comment.

The command is the smallest of the U.S. military's six theater special operations commands. But the military says if hostilities were to erupt on the Korean peninsula it would quickly grow to be the largest such command in the world. It is also the only one which is geared for combined operations with forces from an ally - in this case, South Korea.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid