Outgoing US Commander Recalls Response to North Korean Attack

Posted September 20th, 2011 at 5:03 am (UTC-5)
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An outgoing U.S. military commander in South Korea says U.S. forces had aircraft in the air and launchers ready to fire in the hours after a North Korean attack on the South last year.

The U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes quotes Major General Michael Tucker describing the action at a ceremony Tuesday in South Korea. Tucker was handing over command of the 2nd Infantry Division to Major General Edward Cardon.

In remarks at the ceremony, Tucker stressed the need for allied forces to be ready for any kind of attack from the North.

Stars and Stripes quoted him saying that after North Korean forces shelled Yeonpyeong Island in November, his unit stood ready to fight, with radars deployed, aviation platforms airborne and launchers at the ready.

The North Korean attack killed four people, including two South Korean marines and two civilians. Earlier last year, 46 seamen died in the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan, which South Korea blamed on the North.

The unexpected artillery attack on Yeonpyeong created several hours of uncertainty as U.S. and South Korean forces sought to determine the extent of the threat. South Korea responded with its own artillery fire into the North but it was unclear whether it caused any casualties.