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[2005/5/27] As premier U.S. installation in S. Korea, Camp Humphreys will triple in size

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As premier U.S. installation in S. Korea, Camp Humphreys will triple in size

               By Franklin Fisher, Stars and Stripes   Pacific edition, Friday, May 27, 2005

 

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea : The U.S. military’s plan to transform Camp Humphreys into its premier installation in South Korea will see the base triple in size and become the home or workplace of some 45,000 troops, civilians and family members, said the general in charge of the effort.

“We’re talking going from over 11,000 people here to 45,000” people working and living on Camp Humphreys, said Army Brig. Gen. Steven M. Anderson, deputy commanding general of the newly established U.S. Forces Korea (Advance Element) at Camp Humphreys.

“This headquarters’s principal mission is to set the conditions for building … the finest military installation in the world,” Anderson said Monday.

Camp Humphreys eventually will house the headquarters of USFK, the Combined Forces Command, the United Nations Command and numerous other units and organizations, including aviation and ground combat forces, officials have said.

Plans call for expanding Camp Humphreys from its current size of about 1,230 acres to 3,558 acres by 2008, under agreements signed between the United States and South Korea. An estimated billion is to be spent on construction alone.

Construction already has begun inside the base perimeter on several projects, including an eight-story barracks complex and adjacent headquarters and a Family Aquatic Center, officials said.

But enlarging the perimeter awaits a major next step that is in the hands of the South Korean government: buying up thousands of acres of rice fields outside Camp Humphreys, then turning the land over to USFK for the expansion.

“Our government is trying to do our best to purchase the land as planned, by the end of this year,” South Korean army Col. Shin Byoung-cheol, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman, said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, said Anderson, USFK will press ahead with several important tasks, including setting up his office staff.

His headquarters also will assemble a Camp Humphreys Project Management Office staffed with engineers and other experts.

They’ll have a role in working out further details of a comprehensive Camp Humphreys master plan “that will start developing the footprint that we’ll build to,” Anderson said.

Anderson also will put a major focus on working with Korean officials, business leaders and the Korean public in the Pyongtaek region, he said.

“That’s one group of people that I’ve got to engage with. … We don’t want to just build here in a vacuum,” he said.

The expansion will affect the Pyongtaek region’s utilities, roads and commerce. The Korean community, Anderson said, is as important to the Camp Humphreys expansion as a leg in a three-legged stool. When one leg breaks, he said, “the stool falls over. That’s just how vital they are.”

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