Admiral John C. Aquilino
Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command
Admiral Chris “Lung” Aquilino USFK Change of Command
USAG HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea
2 July 2021
Good morning ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you Minister Suh for your remarks and for your exceptional leadership.
Assemblyman Min, General Won, Chargé Rapson, Ambassadors, Chargés, fellow Flag and General Officers, VIPs, senior civilian and military leaders, distinguished visitors – thank you for joining us today.
I’d like to also extend a special welcome to the Abrams and Lacamera families - Abe and his wife Connie, and to Paul and Theresa LaCamera and their daughter, Maggie.
I’m honored to be here to recognize outstanding leaders and acknowledge our ironclad alliance with the Republic of Korea.
For more than six decades, the ROK – U.S. alliance has been the linchpin of peace, security, and prosperity for Northeast Asia.
Our alliance symbolizes our shared values and the strong people-to-people ties that are central to our enduring friendship across multiple generations.
At its core, this alliance is underpinned by the tremendous work of our service men and women alongside our host nation counterparts.
What you do on a daily basis not only impacts this Peninsula, but more importantly, it preserves the rules-based international order that safeguards our way of life.
So thank you for all that you continue to do.
Under General Abrams’ leadership, we have made it clear that our commitment to the Republic of Korea remains absolute, and we remain prepared to fight alongside and defend our allies using all capabilities at our disposal.
Service on the Peninsula runs deep within the Abrams family, and Abe has led this command during one of the most dynamic times since the end of the Korean War.
Abe built interoperability between our two forces, increased joint force readiness, and delivered integrated deterrence to counter malign influences in this theater.
Abe—the nation is indebted to you for your 39 years of devoted service, and we thank Connie and your children, Robert and Carolyn, for their sacrifice supporting you and our nation these past 4 decades.
Though it’s hard to say goodbye to the Abrams family, I’m pleased to welcome the LaCameras to the Peninsula.
Paul, I’m very happy that we will continue to work together.
A proven warfighter, Paul brings extensive combat experience – as a matter of fact – more than any other in the U.S. Army.
We send only our best leaders to command on the Korean Peninsula as a commitment to the alliance – and that is clear with Generals Abrams and LaCamera.
Paul, you are the right leader, at the right time, with the right partner in Theresa to take on this tremendous responsibility.
You are now responsible for ready forces who are ready to fight and win tonight.
U.S. Forces Korea is a vital part of our approach to generate a lethal, Combined Joint Force, distributed west of the International Date Line and capable of fully integrating with all of our allies and partners.
We will continue to present this integrated deterrence posture to our adversaries, making them pause before they take any action that threatens a free, safe, prosperous, and open Indo-Pacific.
And Paul, on behalf of all the service men and women of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, I wish you and Theresa all the best during your time in command.
Abe, thank you and Connie for what you’ve done here and thank you for being a great teammate and friend.
Speaking of being a great teammate and friend, I spoke to Chairman Milley a few days ago, and he asked me to extend his regrets and to relay the following remarks in his absence:
I’ve known GEN Robert “Abe” Abrams for many years and had the privilege to serve alongside him multiple times.
For the past 31 months, GEN Abrams has led three separate commands with three distinct missions and unique sets of authorities.
It takes an extraordinary leader to effectively lead three disparate commands, yet harmoniously synchronize all efforts to support our ironclad alliance and defense of the Republic of Korea.
These 3 commands stand ready to fight tonight and win decisively.
This team of teams has proven that we move fastest and achieve the most when we cross the river in the same boat.
Abe – we owe you a debt of gratitude for leading over 28,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines stationed here who defend our shared interests in the Pacific and for taking our warfighting capabilities to new heights.
As the 25th commander of USFK, you leave an enduring legacy for the region, for our Nation, and for global peace.
But he didn’t do it alone.
Shoulder-to-shoulder with every great leader is an even greater family.
And for the Abrams, service is the family business.
To Connie, on behalf of all the families stationed here in Korea, and really on behalf of the whole Joint Force, you’ve given your all for just shy of 4 consecutive decades.
And the impact of your advocacy and leadership has been tremendous, especially your devotion to our fallen brothers and sisters in arms and supporting the families left behind.
I know as well as Abe that he couldn’t do what he does without the support of you and your children, Robert and Carolyn.
Hollyanne and I are both excited for you and Abe in your next journey.
Most importantly, you head towards this next chapter exactly as you always have – hand in hand as a team.
And to Paul LaCamera, it’s my privilege to welcome you and Theresa from USARPAC to USFK.
Paul, after three and a half decades of service in the Army with elite units, you are the warrior with the perfect skillset to fortify security on the Peninsula.
In Paul LaCamera, we’re getting a General’s General, a man shaped by the crucible of up-close ground combat and familiar with the sting of battle.
We thank you, Theresa, and your children for the sacrifices you have already made and for the work you embark upon now.
This Peninsula has been divided for nearly 68 years.
150,000 troops from South Korea, the United States, and U.N. nations were killed in the Korean War.
The U.S.-ROK relationship, today and tomorrow, shines brightly across the globe as a beacon of hope, a constant reminder of partnership, progress, and peace.
God Bless our two Nations and all who serve and defend them.
Thank you and “We Go Together!”