Celebrating JUSMAG-K’s 65th Anniversary

On September 11th, I had the honor of hosting the 65th Anniversary celebration of the Joint U.S. Military Affairs Group Korea (JUSMAG-K).  JUSMAG-K is part of the Embassy team and contributes greatly to our enduring security alliance with Korea.  While I am very aware of JUSMAG-K's role today, I was impressed to learn more about the organization's long history in our bilateral relationship.  JUSMAG-K has been around longer than any other U.S. military organization here, and is truly at the very heart of our long-lasting Alliance. 

A photo exhibition outlining the history of JUSMAG-K

Modern-day JUSMAG-K is the direct descendant of the U.S. military advisors who helped organize, advise, train, and equip the newly formed Republic of Korea Army in 1948.  At that time, the organization was known as the U.S. Military Advisory Group to the Republic of Korea, or, more simply, "KMAG."  After the armistice was signed in 1953, KMAG and the other advisory groups continued to have the robust and critical mission of rebuilding ROK military forces.  In 1971, KMAG and the Air and Naval Advisory Groups were consolidated into one joint organization – JUSMAG-K.  

However, our military ties go even further back!  The first military advisor ever assigned to Korea was General William Dye in 1888.  A Civil War veteran and former Police Chief in Washington, D.C., he traveled to Seoul with three other active duty U.S. Army officers at the invitation of King Gojong of the Chosun Dynasty.  His military mission lasted just a few years, but he ultimately stayed in Korea as a senior advisor to King Gojong until 1899.

A photo of first KMAG Chief BG Roberts working with Korean soldiers

At JUSMAG-K's 65th Anniversary reception, I was honored to receive the "Brigadier General William McEntyre Dye Memorial Award," which is presented to senior U.S. and ROK Government officials who have greatly supported the organization's security cooperation mission in Korea.  My ROK Government co-awardee was the Minister of Defense Acquisition, Mr. Chang Myoung Jin, who heads Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).  

I was honored to receive the Brigadier General William McEntyre Dye Memorial Award with Minister Chang.

The story of JUSMAG-K is illustrative of the story of our Alliance with Korea.  From the 1940s to the 1970s, our work focused on providing military assistance and tactical advisors to train and organize Korean forces.  Our U.S.-ROK Alliance was focused on defending against another North Korean invasion while rebuilding a war-torn country facing serious economic challenges.  Today, the Republic of Korea is a vibrant regional power and member of the G-20 club of global economic leaders.  Accordingly, our modern relationship is far broader and more strategically significant, and branches deep into economic and trade ties, global diplomatic initiatives and strong social and cultural relationships.  We can now pursue an agenda that is more diverse than we have dealt with before.  This includes "New Horizon" issues such as cyber, space, environment, energy and health.  

Thank you JUSMAG-K team for all your hard work!

Happy 65th Anniversary to JUSMAG-K, and here's looking forward to the next 65 years of our enduring Strategic Alliance! 

And Grigsby made new KATUSA friends!

1 comment:

  1. I was very heartened to serendipitously come across this posting. I was a member of JUSMAGK in 1998-2000 and was in charge of organizing the 50th anniversary when we set up a commemorative boulder in front of JUSMAGK headquarters. One of the truly memorable activities was a day long staff ride with General Paek Son-yop who traced the heroic actions of his 1st Division in the opening days of the Korean War.

    Jiyul Kim, Colonel (ret), US Army


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