Republic of Korea Army

Republic of Korea Army
Republic of Korea Army
Flag of the Army of of the Republic of Korea.svg
Active September 5, 1948 – present
Country  Republic of Korea
Type Army
Size 520,000 (2010)[1]
Part of Ministry of National Defense
Garrison/HQ Gyeryong
Motto "강한친구 대한민국 육군"
("A Strong Friend, Republic of Korea Army")
Mascot "호국이" (HOGUGY)
Engagements Korean War
Vietnam War
Gulf War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Army Chief of Staff General Kim Sang-ki

The Republic of Korea Army (ROK Army, ROKA, Korean: 대한민국 육군, Hanja: 大韓民國 陸軍, Revised Romanization: Daehanminguk Yuk-gun) is the largest of the military branches of the South Korean armed forces with 520,000 members as of 2010. This size is maintained through conscription; South Korean men must complete 21 months of military service between graduation of high school and the age of 35. The Republic of Korea maintains a well equipped army, making it one of the most powerful in Asia. Its primary function is to defend the country's terrain from enemies, most notably the DPRK.



The army is structured to operate in both the mountainous terrain native to the Korean Peninsula (70% mountainous) and in North Korea with its 1 million strong Korean People's Army, 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), Second Army (2nd OC), and Third Army (TROKA), 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 Operations Command in 2006, and the First and Third ROK Armies will be merged as the First Operations Command in 2010.


The 1st of every October is celebrated in South Korea as the 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.

Republic of Korea Army Headquarters (대한민국 육군본부)

  • Guided Missile Command 'ENDLESSNESS' (유도탄사령부 '무극부대')
  • Air Operations Command 'PHOENIX' (항공작전사령부 '불사조부대')
  • 1st Aviation Brigade (1항공여단)
  • 2nd Aviation Brigade (2항공여단)
  • Capital Defense Command 'SHIELD' (수도방위사령부 '방패부대')
  • 1st Chemical Defense Brigade (1화학전방호여단)
  • 122nd Signal Brigade (122통신여단)
  • 10th Air Defense Artillery Group (10방공단)
  • 1113rd Engineer Group (1113공병단)
  • 52nd Homeland Defense Infantry Division (52향토보병사단)
  • 56th Homeland Defense Infantry Division (56향토보병사단)
  • 57th Homeland Defense Infantry Division (57향토보병사단)
  • 60th Reserve Infantry Division (60동원보병사단)
  • 71st Reserve Infantry Division (71동원보병사단)
  • 707th Special Mission Battalion 'WHITE TIGER' (707특수임무대대 '백호부대')
  • Special Warfare Training Group (특수전교육단)
  • 1st Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'EAGLE' (1공수특전여단 '독수리부대')
  • 3rd Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'FLYING TIGER' (3공수특전여단 '비호부대')
  • 5th Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'BLACK DRAGON' (5공수특전여단 '흑룡부대')
  • 7th Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'PEGASUS' (7공수특전여단 '천마부대')
  • 9th Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'GHOST' (9공수특전여단 '귀성부대')
  • 11th Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'GOLDEN BAT' (11공수특전여단 '황금박쥐부대')
  • 13th Special Forces Brigade (Airborne) 'BLACK PANTHER' (13공수특전여단 '흑표부대)
  • Army Logistics Command 'SEVEN STARS' (육군군수사령부 '칠성대')
  • Consolidated Maintenance Depot (종합정비창)
  • Consolidated Supply Depot (종합보급창)
  • Ammunition Support Command (탄약지원사령부)
  • Army Training & Doctrine Command (육군교육사령부)
  • Students' Central Military School (학생중앙군사학교)
  • Army College (육군대학)
  • Technical Schools (병과학교)
  • Korea Combat Training Center(KCTC) (육군과학화전투훈련단)
  • Korea Army Training Center (KATC) (육군훈련소)
  • Army Combat Development Group (육군전투발전단)
  • Korea Military Academy at Yeong-cheon (육군3사관학교)
  • Korea Military Academy (육군사관학교)

First Republic of Korea Army (FROKA) (1야전군)

  • 3rd Armored Brigade 'LIGHTNING' (3기갑여단 '번개부대')
  • 11th Field Artillery Group (11야전포병단)
  • 12th Aviation Group (12항공단)
  • 1107th Engineer Group (1107공병단)
  • 1170th Engineer Group (1170공병단)
  • 11th Signal Brigade (11통신여단)
  • 11th Infantry Division (Mechanized) 'Hwa-rang' (11기계화보병사단 '화랑부대')
  • 1st Logistical Support Command (1군수지원사령부)
  • II Corps 'DOUBLE DRAGONS' (2군단 '쌍용부대')
  • 2nd Artillery Brigade (2포병여단)
  • 2nd Engineer Brigade (2공병여단)
  • 102nd Signal Brigade (102통신여단)
  • 702nd Special Assault Regiment (702특공연대)
  • 302nd Security Regiment (302경비연대)
  • 7th Infantry Division 'SEVEN STARS' (7보병사단 '칠성부대')
  • 15th Infantry Division 'VICTORY' (15보병사단 '승리부대')
  • 27th Infantry Division 'LET'S WIN' (27보병사단 '이기자부대')
  • III Corps 'MOUNTAINS' (3군단 '산악부대')
  • 3rd Artillery Brigade (3포병여단)
  • 3rd Engineer Brigade (3공병여단)
  • 103rd Signal Brigade (103통신여단)
  • 703rd Special Assault Regiment (703특공연대)
  • 303rd Security Regiment (303경비연대)
  • 2nd Infantry Division 'ANGRY WAVE' (2보병사단 '노도부대')
  • 12th Infantry Division 'EULJI' (12보병사단 '을지부대')
  • 21st Infantry Division 'MT. BAEKDU' (21보병사단 '백두산부대')
  • VIII Corps 'LOYAL DRAGON OF THE EAST SEA' (8군단 '동해충용부대')
  • 8th Artillery Brigade (8포병여단)
  • 102nd Infantry Brigade(Mechanized) 'SUNRISE' (102기계화보병여단 '일출부대')
  • 22nd Infantry Division 'YULGOK' (22보병사단 '율곡부대')
  • 23rd Infantry Division 'IRON WALL' (23보병사단 '철벽부대')

Army Second Operations Command (육군 2작전사령부)

(This is the former Second Republic of Korea Army (SROKA))

  • 12nd Signal Group (12정보통신단)
  • 21st Aviation Group (21항공단)
  • 201st Special Assault Brigade (201특공여단)
  • 203rd Special Assault Brigade (203특공여단)
  • 1117th Engineer Group (1117공병단)
  • 1120th Engineer Group (1120공병단)
  • 5th Logistical Support Command (5군수지원사령부)
  • 31st Homeland Defense Infantry Division (31향토보병사단)
  • 32nd Homeland Defense Infantry Division (32향토보병사단)
  • 35th Homeland Defense Infantry Division (35향토보병사단)
  • 37th Homeland Defense Infantry Division (37향토보병사단)
  • 39th Homeland Defense Infantry Division (39향토보병사단)
  • 50th Homeland Defense Infantry Division (50향토보병사단)
  • 53rd Homeland Defense Infantry Division (53향토보병사단)

Third Republic of Korea Army (TROKA) (3야전군)

  • 1st Air Defense Artillery Brigade (1방공포병여단)
  • 1101st Engineer Group (1101공병단)
  • 1173rd Engineer Group (1173공병단)
  • 1175th Engineer Group (1175공병단)
  • 2nd Logistical Support Command (2군수지원사령부)
  • 5th Supply Unit (5보급대)
  • 3rd Logistical Support Command (3군수지원사령부)
  • Capital Corps 'DEVOTION' (수도군단 '충의부대')
  • Capital Artillery Brigade (수도포병여단)
  • 100th Signal Brigade (100통신여단)
  • 700th Special Assault Regiment (700특공연대)
  • 17th Infantry Division 'LIGHTNING' (17보병사단 '번개부대')
  • 51st Infantry Division 'TOTAL VICTORY' (51보병사단 '전승부대')
  • I Corps 'GWANGGAETO' (1군단 '광개토부대')
  • 2nd Armored Brigade 'LOYALTY' (2기갑여단 '충성부대')
  • 1st Engineer Brigade (1공병여단)
  • 101st Signal Brigade (101통신여단)
  • 11th Aviation Group (11항공단)
  • 701st Special Assault Regiment (701특공연대)
  • 301st Security Regiment (301경비연대)
  • 1st Artillery Brigade (1포병여단)
  • 2nd Field Artillery Group (2야전포병단)
  • 3rd Field Artillery Group (3야전포병단)
  • 7th Field Artillery Group (7야전포병단)
  • 11th Infantry Regiment (11보병연대(GOP))
  • 12th Infantry Regiment (12보병연대(GOP))
  • 15th Infantry Regiment (15보병연대)
  • 28th Infantry Regiment (28보병연대)
  • 29th Infantry Regiment (29보병연대)
  • 30th Infantry Regiment (30보병연대)
  • 25th Infantry Division 'FLYING DRAGON' (25보병사단 '비룡부대')
  • 70th Infantry Regiment (70보병연대)
  • 71st Infantry Regiment (71보병연대)
  • 72nd Infantry Regiment (72보병연대)
  • 30th Infantry Division (Mechanized) 'CERTAIN VICTORY' (30기계화보병사단 '필승부대')
  • 90th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (90기계화보병여단)
  • 91st Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (91기계화보병여단)
  • 92nd Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) (92기계화보병여단)
  • 72nd Reserve Infantry Division 'OLYMPIC' (72동원보병사단'올림픽부대')
  • V Corps 'VICTORIOUS ADVANCE' (5군단 '승진부대')
  • 1st Armored Brigade 'BLITZKRIEG' (1기갑여단 '전격부대')
  • 5th Engineer Brigade (5공병여단)
  • 105th Signal Brigade (105통신여단)
  • 15th Aviation Group (15항공단)
  • 705th Special Assault Regiment (705특공연대)
  • 305th Security Regiment (305경비연대)
  • 5th Artillery Brigade 'VICTORIOUS ADVANCE' (5포병여단 '승진포병부대')
  • 1st Field Artillery Group (1야전포병단)
  • 5th Field Artillery Group (5야전포병단)
  • 8th Mobilization Artillery Group (8동원포병단)
  • 18th Infantry Regiment (18보병연대(GOP))
  • 22nd Infantry Regiment (22보병연대(GOP))
  • 23rd Infantry Regiment (23보병연대)
  • 2nd Infantry Regiment (2보병연대(GOP))
  • 7th Infantry Regiment (7보병연대(GOP))
  • 19th Infantry Regiment (19보병연대)
  • VI Corps 'ADVANCE' (6군단 '진군부대')
  • 5th Armored Brigade 'IRON STORM' (5기갑여단 '철풍부대')
  • 6th Engineer Brigade (6공병여단)
  • 106th Signal Brigade (106통신여단)
  • 16th Aviation Group (16항공단)
  • 706th Special Assault Regiment (706특공연대)
  • 306th Security Regiment (306경비연대)
  • 6th Artillery Brigade (6포병여단)
  • 6th Field Artillery Group (6야전포병단)
  • 9th Field Artillery Group (9야전포병단)
  • 5th Infantry Division 'KEY' (5보병사단 '열쇠부대')
  • 26th Infantry Division (Mechanized) 'GROUP OF FIRES' (26기계화보병사단 '불무리부대')
  • 28th Infantry Division 'INVINCIBLE TYPHOON' (28보병사단 '무적태풍부대')
  • VII Corps 'VANGUARD OF NORTHERN ADVANCE' (7군단 '북진선봉부대')
  • 7th Artillery Brigade (7포병여단)
  • 7th Engineer Brigade (7공병여단)
  • 107th Signal Brigade (107통신여단)
  • 17th Aviation Group (17항공단)
  • 7th Assault Unit (7강습대)

Equipment of the Republic of Korea Army

The army consists of 520,000 troops, 2,300 tanks, 2,500 armored vehicles, 5,200 artillery pieces and MRLs, 30 guided missile systems, and 600 helicopters as of 2010.

The tanks include 880 M48 Patton series and its upgrades such as M48A3K, M48A5, and M48A5K, 33 Soviet T-80U and 2 T-80UK (given by Russia to pay off debt), as well as the more recent K1 and K1A1 which bear a 120 mm smoothbore gun and are of local manufacture. The ROK Army is using approximately 2,500 tanks, including 1,524 K1A1 and K1 tanks.

The future replacement for the K1 and K1A1 MBTs has been named the K2 Black Panther (흑표;黑豹 Heukpyo), which will be fitted with a 1500 hp MTU-based engine, 55-caliber 120 mm main gun with autoloader. The new tank will also feature RADAR equipment as well as all-bearing laser detection and defense systems, anti-missile grenade launcher, and heavy reactive armor and sensor package comparable to the American M1A2 Abrams and German Leopard 2A6. The ROK Army is planning to field approximately 390 Black Panthers.

In addition South Korea already manufactures the indigenous K-9 howitzer, which have been exported to Turkey, as well as the K200 series KIFV's which saw action in UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) as part of the Malaysian peacekeeping forces. A variation of the K200, the KAFV's can be retrofitted to bear a 90 mm barrel or 40 mm grenade turret or M230-1 Chain gun Turret or MK-30 Chaingun Turret.

A replacement for K200 series IFVs are currently being tested, designated as K21 KNIFV (Korea Next generation Infantry Fighting Vehicle), which will have various capabilities for both land and naval warfare. The initial production is set for 2008, with the ROKA planning to field approximately 1,000 units until 2015.

The K21 KNIFV's chassis will be constructed entirely out of fiberglass, reducing the vehicle's load and enabling it to travel at higher speeds without bulky and powerful engines. When constructed, the NIFV will be lighter than other IFVs, including the American Bradley series and Russian BMP series, increasing both speed and payload.

The ROK Army also fields the mobile K-SAM "Pegasus"(천마/天馬; Cheonma), fitted with 8 missiles that fly at maximum speeds of mach 2.6, and the K-30 "Biho" series, which features a 30 mm twin gun system for anti-aerial fire support.

Besides having vehicles and equipment of their own design as well as American models, the ROK Army also has several powerful Russian-built AFVs, including BMP-3 IFVs and T-80U MBTs, given by the Russian government to pay off the financial debt owed to South Korea. Other notable foreign equipment in service with the ROK Army includes the Mistral MANPADS.

A new infantry rifle, the Daewoo K11 entered service in 2010. The overall concept of this weapon is similar to the American OICW.

Military ranks

Officer ranks can be learned fairly easily if one sees the pattern. "So" (小) equals small; "Jung" (中) equals medium; "Dae" (大) equals large.
"Jun" (准) equals equivalent, used for Warrant Officer and 1 star general to ensure that they are regarded as officer/general, although these ranks are lower than the same grade with "So" rank.
"Won" (元) equals principal, only used for Won-Su, General of the Army.
Each of these is coupled with "wi" (尉) equals company grade, "ryung" (領) equals field grade, and "jang" (將) equals general.

NCO rank is same as officer. "Ha" (下) equals lower; "Jung" (中) equals medium; "Sang" (上) equals high; "Won" (元) equals principal, because this title is named after Won-Su, to ensure that this rank is higher than Sang-sa.
Each of these is coupled with "Sa" (士) equals sergeant, although actual 'sergeant' rank is "Byeong-jang".

This system is due to the hanja or Sino-Korean origin of the names.


Commissioned officers

ROK Army rank ROK Army insignia

(General of the Army)




(Lieutenant General)


(Major General)


(Brigadier General)




(Lieutenant Colonel)






(First Lieutenant)


(Second Lieutenant)

Warrant officers

ROK Army rank ROK Army insignia

(Warrant Officer)

Non-Commissioned officers

ROK Army rank ROK Army insignia

(Sergeant Major)


(Master Sergeant)


(Sergeant First Class)


(Staff Sergeant)


ROK Army rank ROK Army insignia





(Private First Class)





¹: No one has yet held the rank of Won-su in the history of the ROK Armed Forces.
²: The Jun-wi (Warrant Officer)'s insignia is in gold color while the ones of Second Lieutenant and higher are in silver color.


External links

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