KATUSA Soldier Program
The Korean Augmentation to the United States Army (KATUSA) Soldier Program was initiated on 15 July 1950 by an informal agreement between the Honorable Syngman Rhee, President of the ROK, and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief, United Nations Command (UNC). The concept of this program originally was to augment the U.S. fighting forces just after the outbreak of the Korean War. After the armistice, KATUSA Soldiers remained with Army in Korea units to receive training that was not readily available in the ROKA and to enhance Army in Korea's mission capability. The KATUSA Soldier Program has been a continuous one since 1950 with only periodic strength adjustments dictated by requirements. Originally, KATUSA Soldiers were returned to the ROKA after serving with the U.S. Army. Since 1968, however, KATUSA Soldiers remain with the U.S. Army until their service commitments are completed. The ROKA Support Group was established on 11 May 1965 at the request of the Commander, Eighth Army, as a ROKA officer liaison group to administer the KATUSA Soldier program. Its name was changed from ROKA Liaison Group to ROKA Support Group in November 1986. On 1 November 1997, the ROKA Support Group was reorganized as a unit directly under Headquarter (HQ), ROKA G2/G3, and was later reorganized on 1 December 2009 directly under HQ, ROK Army’s Personnel Command.
The Mission and Importance of the KATUSA Soldier Program
The mission of the KATUSA Soldier Program is to augment Army in Korea with ROK Army Soldiers in order to increase the ROK/U.S. combined defense capability on the Korean peninsula. The KATUSA Soldier Program is significant not only because of the military manpower and monetary savings that it provides to the U.S. Army, but also because it represents ROK/U.S. cooperation and the combined commitment to deter war. The KATUSA Soldier Program is also symbolic of ROK/U.S. friendship and mutual support.
Responsibilities to the KATUSA Soldier Program
All theater U.S. Army and ROKA personnel have an inherent responsibility to ensure the success of the KATUSA Soldier Program by observing and implementing the policies and procedures contained in Army in Korea Reg 600-2. All personnel, U.S. Army or ROKA, are strongly encouraged to submit suggestions and recommendations that may improve the KATUSA Soldier Program.