8th Army Commander Calls Camp Humphreys Expansion 80% Complete

Here is an update on the Camp Humphreys expansion project:

Originally a small fighter base during the Korean War, Camp Humphreys has transformed into the peninsula’s largest military installation.

Aerial snapshots taken Wednesday show a transformation 8th Army commander Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal calls 80 percent done.

Barracks and training ranges can be seen sprawling along the banks of Anseong River to the north as family housing and schools cut into vast rice paddies to the south.

Four-lane boulevards bisect block after block of new buildings. The base looks more like the massive U.S. installations of Fort Bliss and Fort Hood in Texas than it does the old Korean War-era camps filled with Quonset huts north of the Han River.

However, the images also show sore spots for the $10.7 billion project aimed to fulfill a 2004 agreement between Seoul and Washington to move the bulk of U.S. forces 40 miles south of Seoul.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link.

 

Missing Teenager of USFK Servicemember Found In Seoul

Here is some good news that this missing American teenager was found safe in Seoul:

A U.S. soldier’s teenage daughter was found safe in Seoul and was reunited with her family Thursday, two weeks after she vanished from Camp Humphreys, a spokesman said.

Fatima Andrea Wdave, 17, was reported missing after she failed to report to her summer job at a sushi restaurant outside the Army garrison, about 35 miles south of the South Korean capital.

The U.S. military put out an all-points bulletin saying she was last seen outside her on-post quarters at about 10:30 p.m. Aug. 10.

U.S. military police picked her up in Seoul after she was located on Thursday and took her back to her family on Humphreys.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link.

Defense Analyst Claims that Camp Humphreys Can Be Destroyed By North Korean Rockets

Really nothing surprising here, North Korea has long been able to target Camp Humphreys with ballistic missiles, rockets just give them another way to attack the base:

Camp Humphreys

The new U.S. Pyeongtaek Garrison is vulnerable to North Korea’s rocket and missile attacks possibly topped with chemical and biological warheads, a noted American defense analyst told The Korea Times Friday.

“The new North Korean 300mm rocket launchers would be able to reach Pyeongtaek,” said Bruce Bennett, a senior defense researcher at the Rand Corp.

It was a contingency that the U.S. failed to anticipate in the early 2000s when the integrated U.S. base was planned, the Korea expert added. Pyeongtaek is located 100 kilometers from the southernmost area of the North Korean side on the inter-Korean border and is outside the range of the North’s 7,000 artillery pieces located there.

But the latest 300mm rocket launchers can cover the distance and hit the U.S. base and what is also worrisome is they are reloadable, he said.

The North’s theater ballistic missiles also pose a threat to the base where key elements of the U.S. forces here are being moved to. “The North has 100 launchers for these missiles,” he said, citing a ROK military whitepaper. “We have significant uncertainties with regard to their number and payloads.” The North is said to possess large quantities of chemical and biological weapons that are deliverable by their projectiles.  [Korea Times]

You can read more at the link.

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)