Republic of Korea Army

Republic of Korea Army
대한민국 육군
Daehanminguk Yuk-gun
Seal of the Republic of Korea Army.svg
Coat of arms of the Republic of Korea Army
FoundedSeptember 5, 1948; 69 years ago (1948-09-05)
Country South Korea
TypeArmy
RoleGround warfare
Size495,000 (2014)[1]
552 aircraft (2014)[2]
Part of Republic of Korea Armed Forces
Garrison/HQGyeryong, South Chungcheong, South Korea
Nickname(s)"ROK Army", "ROKA", "South Korean army"
Motto(s)"A Strong Friend, Republic of Korea Army"
(Korean: 《강한친구 대한민국 육군》)
March"Army Anthem" (Korean: 《육군가》, translit. Yukgunga)[3][4][5][6][7]
Mascot(s)Hogugi (Korean: 호국이)
Equipment2,500 main battle tanks, 5,800 artillery pieces, 2,700 armored fighting vehicles, 60 guided missile systems, 600 helicopters
EngagementsKorean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War
Commanders
Commander-in-ChiefPresident Moon Jae-In
Minister of National DefenseMinister Song Young-Moo
Chief of Army StaffGeneral Kim Yong-woo
Insignia
Flag
Flag of the Republic of Korea Army.svg

The Republic of Korea Army (ROKA; Korean: 대한민국 육군; Hanja: 大韓民國 陸軍; Revised Romanization: Daehanminguk Yuk-gun), also known as the ROK Army, is the army of South Korea, responsible for ground-based warfare. It is the largest of the military branches of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces with 495,000 members as of 2014. This size is maintained through conscription; South Korean men must complete 21 months of military service between the age of 18 and 35.[8]

The army will take the brunt of the personnel reduction planned as part of the Defense Reform 307. Associated with this personnel reduction would be a significant reduction in the ROK Army force structure, in particular decreasing the current force of 47 divisions (active duty/reserve) and 495,000 soldiers down to a force of about 38 divisions (active duty/reserve) and 400,000 soldiers.[9]

History

Korean soldiers in 1898
A U.S. Army drawing showing ROKA soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War in 1966

The modern South Korean army traces its lineage back to the Gwangmu Reform, when the Beolgyegoon was established by Emperor Gojong in 1881.

The 1st of every October is celebrated in South Korea as Armed Forces Day. It commemorates the day during the Korean War when units of the ROK Army first crossed the 38th Parallel, thus leading the UN Coalition north into North Korean territory for the first time.

The National Security Guard Of South Korea was originally formed out of the Republic Of Korea Army.This organization was created during the American occupation period from 1945-1948. The National Security Guard Of South Korea was initially a reserve unit of the National Police. In addition to some Nationalist Chinese and post-Manchurian soldiers remnants of the Imperial Japanese Army also contributed to the force. The National Defense Force was established on January 15, 1946 replacing the American lead constabulary from 1945.

Today

The South Korean army is structured to operate in both the mountainous terrain native to the Korean Peninsula (70% mountainous) and in North Korea with its 950,000 strong Korean People's Army Ground Force, two-thirds of which is permanently garrisoned in the frontline near the DMZ. The current administration has initiated a program over the next two decades to design a purely domestic means of self-defense, whereby South Korea would be able to fully counter a North Korean attack.

The ROK Army was formerly organized into 3 armies: the First Army (FROKA), Third Army (TROKA) and Second Operational Command. Each with its own headquarters, corps, and divisions. The Third Army was responsible for the defense of the capital as well as the western section of the DMZ. The First Army was responsible for the defense of the eastern section of the DMZ whereas the 2nd OC formed the rearguard.

Under a restructuring plan aimed at reducing redundancy, the Second ROK Army was converted as the Second Operational Command on October 31, 2007, and the First and Third ROK Armies will be merged as the Ground Operations Command in 2020.