YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, visited service members, family members and civilians for a town hall meeting at the post theater in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 1.
Dempsey, accompanied by his wife, Deanie, took time out of his schedule that included appearances, councils and meetings to speak to more than 300 members of the military community to hear their concerns and questions.
He acknowledged the recent Armed Forces Day celebration he attended earlier in the day highlighting the importance of the Republic of Korea and U.S. alliance.
"I want to remind everybody that's 60 years of stability and peace on the peninsula," Dempsey explained. "It has allowed the Republic of Korea partners to blossom into the 12th largest economy on the face of the earth."
During the town hall, Dempsey acknowledged the uncertainty that the government shutdown would bring to the military. But was certain that the all-volunteer force in Korea would remain resilient enough to maintain a level of readiness to meet the challenges ahead.
"You want to know what recharges the batteries of a 61-year old guy with 40 years in the service," Dempsey asked. "It's you. You and you predecessors having provided 60 years of incredible stability in a really dangerous part of the world. Thanks for your service. We literally could not be more proud to serve with you and to be the Chairman for the young men and women and their families who are serving this country today."
Questions from the audience to the Chairman varied from one topic to another to include the length and frequency of upcoming deployments to a question about sexual assault.
"A couple months ago, new orders were put in place about sexual assault cases," said one Navy petty officer. "I wanted to know if there was (and) what was being done to implement them to each branch of service.”
Dempsey explained that the military is on the right track for solutions.
"We've done a lot and not enough," he replied. "But one trend line that appears to be positive, that might surprise you, is that we've got a significant increase in unrestricted number reports. Even somewhere young ladies, and also men, have two or three years ago had an incident and now they're coming forward."
Dempsey explained that he could make all the policies in the world in Washington D.C., but it was a matter of interaction with each other.
"You'll have as much to say on how to correct this as I will," he said.