SOCKOR Change of Command – June 2023

SOCKOR Change of Command Ceremony 2023

Brig. Gen. Derek Lipson replaced Maj. Gen. Michael Martin as the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command – Korea (SOCKOR) during a change-of-command ceremony at Camp Humphreys, South Korea on June 12, 2023.

The position is a dual-hat role, as both commander of SOCKOR and the United Nations Command Special Operations Component (UNCSOC). Senior members of the U.S. and South Korean military and governments attended the event. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, Christopher Maier, was in attendence.

Martin took command of SOCKOR on June 23, 2021. Prior to that he was the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) Director of Operations. Martin began his career as an enlisted Airman in 1985 serving as an Electronic Warfare Technician. After his first enlistment he left the Air Force to attend college and join ROTC. Upon graduation in 1992 from Texas A&M University he received his commission in the Air Force. He began his career in the Combat Control field. He has spent his career in special operations, the air staff, and has had numerous combat deployments. Martin is moving on to be the J3, Director of Operations at U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in Florida.

Exercise Teak Knife

Photo: Major General Martin, SOCKOR commander, hosts senior RoK Officers at Osan Air Base in March 2023. This meeting took place during Exercise Teak Knife. (Photo by SOCKOR).

Lipson was previously assigned as the deputy commanding general support for the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He started his career in the Army in 1990 as a Infantry Platoon Leader. In 1993 he began his long career in Special Forces. Lipson has had numerous overseas and combat deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations around the world.

Map South Korea

The mission of Special Operations Command Korea is to plan and conduct special operations in support of the U.S. forces, United Nations forces, and combined forces in times of armistice, crisis, and war. SOKOR is a functional component command of United States Forces Korea. It is tasked to plan and conduct special operations in the Korean theater of operations.


Video – SOCKOR CoC Ceremony, Defense Now, YouTube, June 13, 2023, 43 minutes.

Biography – Major General Michael E. Martin, U.S. Air Force

Biography – Brigadier General Derek N. Lipson, U.S. Army

Top photo: Image by Special Operations Command Korea, June 12, 2023. Posted on SOCKOR Twitter account.

Maps by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

About John Friberg 201 Articles
John Friberg is the Editor and Publisher of SOF News. He is a retired Command Chief Warrant Officer (CW5 180A) with 40 years service in the U.S. Army Special Forces with active duty and reserve components.