Picture of the Day: 8th Army Relocates to Camp Humphreys

Relocation of 8th Army's headquarters to Pyeongtaek

Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal, commander of the Eighth U.S. Army in South Korea, and other participants salute the statue of Gen. Walton Walker, the first Eighth Army commanding general during the Korean War, as they attend a ceremony at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on July 11, 2017, to mark the relocation of the Eighth Army’s headquarters to the camp from Seoul’s Yongsan Garrison. (Yonhap)

North Korea Welcomes Eighth Army Headquarters to Camp Humphreys By Threatening to Destroy It

It seems to me that the North Korean spokesman unintentionally took a swipe at North Korean targeting capabilities by saying their systems perform better against bigger targets:

Camp Humphreys

North Korea warned Friday that U.S. forces stationed in South Korea are within striking range even if a key unit has moved to a new base located south of Seoul.

The U.S. 8th Army on Tuesday opened its new headquarters at the Camp Humphreys garrison in Pyeongtaek, a port city some 70 kilometers south of Seoul, after a decade of delay in the base relocation. It marked the end of the army’s 64-year presence at the Yongsan base in central Seoul.

North Korea’s military stationed at the truce village of Panmunjom said that regardless of the location, they cannot avoid North Korea’s ruthless firing.

“The larger the U.S. military base is, the more effectively our military hits targets,” a military spokesman was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).  (…….)

“If (the leadership) issues an order, our military will destroy the U.S. imperialists with salvos of firings,” the spokesman said. “If the U.S. sticks to reckless military confrontation despite our warning, it cannot avoid a miserable end.”  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: The Highest Ranking US Army Dentist Visits Camp Humphreys

U.S. Army dental chief visits S. Korea

Maj. Gen. Thomas Tempel, chief of the U.S. Army Dental Corps, speaks during a ceremony at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on May 30, 2017, to open Camp Humphreys Dental Clinic, a dental clinic of the 65th Medical Brigade. The dental clinic is the largest U.S. Army dental clinic in the Asia-Pafific region with 79 state-of-the-art chairs, it said. (Yonhap)

Camp Humphreys Commander Concerned About Government Hiring Freeze

I know a few people that have been impacted by this government hiring freeze.  It will be interesting to see how long it lasts:

Col. Joseph Holland, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, says the federal hiring freeze is having a big impact on military operations in South Korea, despite exemptions.

 The Trump administration’s hiring freeze has left key jobs vacant and could jeopardize readiness at this U.S. base, the commander said Wednesday.

“The hiring freeze that we’re under right now … is having a big impact on us in Korea writ large,” Col. Joseph Holland, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, said in an interview in his office.

President Donald Trump ordered a government-wide hiring freeze on Jan. 23, just three days after taking office. He excluded the military and allowed the Office of Personnel Management to grant exemptions elsewhere.  [Stars & Stripes]

Here is an example of some of the impacts the hiring freeze is having on Camp Humphreys:

For example, the air field, which is active around-the-clock, is relying on an acting manager because officials were unable to push through a final offer to fill the role on a permanent basis before the Feb. 22 cutoff date, Holland said.

“We have a final offer given to a gentleman coming from the United States, but he can’t come here because of the hiring freeze. He fell outside of the window,” he added.

Holland said other vacancies stranded by the hiring freeze included directors for the Army’s substance-abuse program and the community service program, as well as the garrison sexual-assault response coordinator and victim advocate.

You can read more at the link.

Pyeongtaek Bar Owners Complain That USFK Will Not Allow Servicemembers to Patronize Juicy Girls and Prostitutes

I just have little sympathy for these bar owners complaining about the fact that USFK has eaten way at their juicy girl model which at one time brought them huge profits:

An association of bar owners in Pyeongtaek held a press conference at Pyeongtaek City Hall on June 7 to outline their problems. / Yonhap

An association of bar owners in Pyeongtaek held a press conference at Pyeongtaek City Hall on June 7 to outline their problems. / Yonhap

Pyeongtaek has embraced U.S. Army Garrison Camp Humphreys on its soil for many years. And under a relocation plan, more U.S. troops ― the 8th Army headquarters and the 2nd Infantry Division ― will move into the city by 2017, making Pyeongtaek a centerpiece of Seoul-Washington military ties.

All appears to be peaceful and harmonious there. But just beneath the surface of the relationship is growing anger toward the United States Forces Korea (USFK).

While massive construction work for the relocation is under way, the U.S. military in the region has been blamed for prejudicing local business owners’ sovereignty and hurting their livelihoods with what they call “off-limits” action.   (………)

“The current off-limits restrictions clearly infringe on our sovereignty and autonomy,” an official surnamed Park, from the Pyeongtaek branch of the Korea Foreigner Tourist Facility Association (KFTFA), told The Korea Times.

Park said bars have been declared off-limits without warning. The regulation takes effect right after the owners receive a written notice from the U.S. military that briefly explains the reasons for the ban. The owners are not provided with further evidence or details of what provoked the order.

In addition, there is no route to confirm the validity of incidents because “off-limits” are issued based on anecdotal evidence provided by service members or military police of the USFK. This is why bar owners are calling it “absurd.” [Korea Times]

You can read much more about the bar owner complaints at the link, but the argument that their sovereignty is being violated is ridiculous.  They can have all the juicy girls and prostitution they want in their business.  USFK isn’t telling them how to run their business.  However, USFK is under no obligation to allow its servicemembers to patronize such establishments.  Putting businesses off limits to servicemembers is not something that is only done in Korea; in fact in the United States each US military installation has a list of businesses that are off limits to servicemembers as well.

 

Two Apache Helicopters Crash Into Each Other at Camp Humphreys

Hopefully everyone recovers from their injuries with no serious issues:

Two Apache helicopters collided Friday at Camp Humphreys, injuring four U.S. soldiers, a spokesman said.

The AH-64 helicopters were getting ready to take off when the collision occurred at the base south of Seoul, said Lt. Col. Richard Hyde, the 2nd Infantry Division spokesman.

The four soldiers were taken to nearby hospitals with minor injuries, but all have been released, he said Sunday.

The military did not give a cause, saying an investigation is under way. [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: 2-8 Cav Uncases Colors at Camp Humphreys

Hoisting of colors at new military base

Soldiers of the 2-8 Cavalry Regiment affiliated with the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division unfurl the unit’s colors at Camp Humphreys in the city of Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, on July 18, 2016, as they take part in a ceremony to hoist them following the unit’s relocation from Dongducheon, north of Seoul, in this photo released by the division. The relocation is part of a plan to move U.S. bases north of Seoul to Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers southeast of the capital, by the end of 2017. (Yonhap)

2nd Infantry Division Begins Long Awaited Move To Camp Humphreys

It is finally happening which is amazing considering how many years we have been hearing that this was going to happen.

A view from the roof of the future 2nd Infantry Division headquarters at Camp Humphreys on June 5, 2016. The Army is moving most of its forces, including the headquarters for U.S. Forces Korea, the 8th Army and the 2nd Infantry Division, to the expanded garrison south of Seoul.

 U.S. forces in South Korea are finally starting to move to their new headquarters south of Seoul, although the much-delayed expansion of Camp Humphreys won’t be finished for several years.

First up is the Fort Hood, Texas-based 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, which is packing up and redeploying south this week from the mountainous area near the border with North Korea.

Soldiers loaded Abrams tanks and other armored vehicles on flat rail cars Thursday, taking advantage of a new railhead at Humphreys and using late-night convoys to avoid worsening Seoul’s tangled traffic. One whistled the theme song from “M*A*S*H,” a long-running TV series about the Korean War that was set in the area. A separate train was carrying soldiers to Humphreys along with the vehicles so they could jump out to fight if needed.

Several units, including the 304th Signal Battalion and military police, have already redeployed to Camp Humphreys — which will be spread over more than 3,500 acres near the port city of Pyeongtaek.

But the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry, will be the vanguard of the historic move by the 2nd Infantry Division, which has been stationed near the world’s most heavily militarized border for decades.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link.  Just think this was supposed to be completed back in 2008.  According to the article USFK officials have declined to give an end date of when the move will be complete and instead call it conditions based.

Korean Employees Continue to Protest USFK Relocation Plans to Camp Humphreys

I feel bad for the Korean employees that may lose their jobs due to the Camp Humphreys relocation, but this has happened before when camps in 2ID between 2005-2005 were closed.  Times change and from what I have heard most of these employees will have the opportunity to still have a job with USFK if they agree to move to Pyeongtaek:

Hundreds of Korean civilians who work on U.S. bases, many for decades, rallied Saturday outside the U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan amid rising fears about possible job losses and benefits when most American forces move south.

The demonstration, which began with speeches outside the Korean War Memorial, came as the much-postponed relocation is gaining momentum. The move was originally scheduled to take place in 2008 but was delayed until 2012, then 2016, and most recently 2017.

But the military recently announced the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment will move from Camp Hovey near North Korea to Camp Humphreys in July, making it the first unit to relocate.

The 8th Army also said it is sending an advance team of about 100 people to Humphreys this summer.

With the end date in sight, many Korean nationals fear they may lose their jobs as the U.S. military reorganizes and hires new staff in preparation for the relocation to Humphreys in the port city of Pyongtaek and other regional hubs south of Seoul.

“I think they’re going to cut a lot of employees,” said Yi Kyong Nim, a housing management assistant who has worked at Yongsan for 21 years. Yi said his main concern is that U.S. forces will hire Koreans to staff the housing office at Humphreys and there will be no spots left for him because he will be needed at Yongsan until the last minute.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

2nd Infantry Division Announces Move of First Unit from Camp Casey to Camp Humphreys

It is slowly happening, but it looks like the bulk of 2ID will eventually be on Camp Humphreys after all these years of delays:

2id image

The 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment will move from an area near North Korea this summer, becoming “the vanguard” for a massive relocation of U.S. forces to regional hubs south of Seoul, an Army spokesman said Tuesday.

The announcement is part of a flurry of activity as U.S. Forces Korea readies to finally shift the bulk of its operation to Camp Humphreys in the South Korean port city of Pyongtaek and other areas. The effort has been frequently delayed due to funding and construction problems. The move was originally scheduled to take place in 2008 but was delayed until 2012, then 2016 and most recently, 2017.

The Fort Hood, Texas-based battalion is slated to move from its base at Camp Hovey, which is near the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, to Humphreys in July, said Lt. Col. Richard Hyde, a spokesman for the 2nd Infantry Division.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.