The 2nd Infantry Divison, USFK lone combat unit in Korea is composed of two main hubs. The first hub are the camps located in the Uijongbu area just north of Seoul. Uijongbu is home to logistical, communications, and command & control units while the city of Dongducheon located 20 kilometers north of Uijongbu on Highway 3, is home to the division’s combat arms units. The division’s infantry, armor, engineer, and artillery units are all located in the Dongducheon area:
The first camp in the Casey area is called Camp Kwangsa-ri, which is located halfway between Dongducheon and Uijongbu. The camp serves as a ammunition storage facility for the 2ID and is only staffed with a handful ordinance soldiers, a few American civilian workers, many Korean workers, and a ROK Army unit. I have been to Camp Kwangsa-ri more times than I care to remember handling ammunition issues, but the biggest story to ever come out of this camp was when a corruption scandal was uncovered on the camp in 2005 involving a Korean worker named Mr. Kim who was stealing expended ammunistion brass from the camp to resell to a private company. Mr. Kim made $300,000 from the scam and is still at large to this day.
Just of the road from Camp Kwangsa-ri is the city of Dongducheon. Dongducheon by Korean standards is considered a backwater city even though it has a population of nearly 80,000 people. The city also has long had a seedy reputation due to being home to a large number of US military camps over the years:
The city and especially Camp Casey and Hovey are ringed with steep mountains including the popular local mountain Soyosan that makes up the northern boundary of Camp Casey. A river runs through the center of the city and is known to flood from time to time. In 1997 the entire Dongducheon “ville” area was underwater during the worst flood in recent memory.
Most people in the city either directly or indirectly are dependent on the USFK presence for their livelihood. However, factories staffed with third world laborers continue to sprout up in the area to contribute to the local economy as well. The mixture of Koreans, third world laborers, and US soldiers does give the city a vibe very different from everywhere else in Korea.
The biggest camp by far in Dongducheon is Camp Casey:
The camp was named in 1952 after Major Hugh Casey who was an engineer officer that was awared the Distinguished Service Cross for combat actions during the evacuation of Hungnam, North Korea. Casey would later die in December 1951 when the light observer plane he was flying in was shot down by ground fire and crashed on a small hill in the middle of present day Camp Casey. This hill to this day is marked by a large white cross that can be seen from just about anywhere on Camp Casey.
Camp Casey is a large sprawling base located farther north than any other major US military camp in Korea. The camp is only 15 miles straight line distance from the DMZ that separates the two Koreas. Camp Casey is so close to the DMZ you would think it would be quite a spartan installation. That is not the case, as the camp has every facility any other US Army installation has:
It has numerous eating establishments both fast food and sit down restaurants. There are two different Burger King locations, a Popeye’s Chicken, Dunkin Donuts, Anthony’s Pizza, and a Taco Bell. The Primo’s restaurant has a really good lunch buffet that is worth checking out as well.
The largest PX in 2ID can be found here to buy all the latest products and a decent commissary that includes most the foods you would find in the states. The camp also has a nice bookstore and sports shop. The PX also has a number of Korean stores where you can buy typical Korean products, but they are quite expensive compared to buying the same items off post.
Camp Casey is filled with athletic facilities. There are gyms and weight rooms are spread out all over the camp plus numerous football and softball fields are available as well. Throughout the year there are numerous athletics leagues running that encompasses every major sport played in the US. The competition in these leagues is usually very competitive because most soldiers are in Korea away from their families for a year and thus focus much on sports to keep them busy.
The camp also has plenty of entertainment options. There are multiple bars on the camp and a dance club located in Primo’s. Near the PX there is also a nice bowling alley for the bowlers out there. The golf course is quite popular and usually filled unsurprisingly with Korean golfers.
Some of the major units on Camp Casey include Taskforce 1-72 Armor, 2-9 Infantry, 302nd Brigade Support Battalion, 1-38 Field Artillery, & 6-37 Field Artillery.
An unusual fact about Camp Casey is that it actually contains its own Korean village called Golsandong:
The village is actually spread out among the hills to the east of Camp Casey and contains 48 homes with 116 residents:
These homes can only be reached by driving through Camp Casey. So if you are stationed on Camp Casey and see some Koreans driving farming equipment on post, now you know why.
Located adjacent to Camp Casey is the medium sized installation of Camp Hovey.
The camp is named after Master Sergeant Howard Hovey who ended up being one of the last Americans to die during the Korean War during the battle of Pork Chop Hill in July 1953. For his heroic actions defending the hill from the massive Chinese offensive he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Camp Hovey has plenty of facilities to include a restaurant and club, a video store, gymnasium, and sports field. One minus about Camp Hovey is the distance from the PX and commissary on Camp Casey. It is about a 20 minute bus ride from Hovey to reach the PX.
The front gate of the camp is bordered by the sleazy and run down ville of Toko-ri:
Some of the major units on Camp Hovey includes 1-15 Field Artillery, 4-7 US Cavalry, & 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion.
Located right across Highway 3 from Camp Casey is small installation Camp Mobile:
Camp Mobile was known for decades by 2ID soldiers as the “Turtle Farm” because it was the location of the 2ID Replacement Company. The new soldiers that arrived at Camp Mobile were known as “turtles” because they had so long to go before their tour in Korea would be complete. Since the Replacement Company was on the camp the Central Issue Facility (CIF) was established on Camp Mobile to field gear to all the new soldiers.
I remember my first time pulling into Camp Mobile. I had been on a bus from Kimpo Airport and pulled into this camp that reminded me more of a concentration camp than a military installation due to the drab buildings, quonset huts, and barbed wire. This place was not a welcoming site to anyone pulling into 2ID for the first time. Fortunately the Replacement Company was moved to the much more hospitable Camp Stanley in Uijongbu. The company is now known as the Warrior Readiness Company.
Camp Mobile also has an air strip on it that is used for helicopter landings as well as UAV operations. The only thing I remember more than arriving to the “turtle farm” for the first time was waiting in the freezing cold of February for four hours on the air strip to do an air assault training operation with the 1-503 Infantry. We absolutely froze waiting for the helicopters that would never seen to show up. Finally we were told it was to cold and the visibility to poor for the helicopters to come. There was some seriously pissed off infantrymen that day.
Just down the road from both Camp Casey and Camp Mobile is the now vacated Camp Nimble:
Camp Nimble before closing, was home to two companies from the 702nd MSB. These two companies contained the military semi-trucks used to transport cargo and equipment for the division. This may be why it was named Camp Nimble:
I’m sure the camp had its good points, but to me Camp Nimble never seemed like a good place to be stationed and the roads leading from the camp were quite narrow and definitely a traffic hazard for military vehicles trying to drive through there. Fortunately this camp has finally been closed down.
Just north of Camp Casey is the small installation of Camp Castle. Camp Castle for decades was home to the engineers units thus the reason for the name of Camp Castle. The engineers moved off the camp in 2004 and has been occupied by the 702nd Brigade Support Battalion since:
Something unusual about this camp is that the motorpool is located on the opposite side of Highway 3 from the rest of the camp. The motorpool is accessed by a pedestrian overpass.
Camp Castle is further divided with a small warehouse located just north of Camp Castle’s main post which is known as Camp Castle North:
The warehouse on Camp Castle North is used by the division to turn in old equipment to the support battalion unit that operates the warehouse. This is another place I have spent way to much time at before.
Overall, the Camp Casey area is not a bad posting considering how close to freedom’s frontier one is stationed. Combined the camps have just about every facility you could expect on any other US military installation and transportation to and from the post continues to improve, especially with the opening of the new subway station in Dongducheon. So if you get stationed in the Camp Casey area it is not the end of the world and it is not that bad of a place. Like most things in Korea, it is all what you make of it.
If you have an interesting or funny veteran story from your time in Korea I would love to hear it. If it is a good story I am willing to publish it here on the ROK Drop. It doesn’t matter what decade you served just as long as it is interesting or funny. If you have a story to share you can e-mail the story to me at gikoreaonline – at – yahoo.com. Thanks for reading the ROK Drop.
More “A Profile” series postings worth checking out:
- A Profile of the Western Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
- A Profile of USFK’s Western Corridor Camps
- A Profile of USFK Camps In Dongducheon
- A Profile of the TDC Ville
- A Profile of Bosan-dong Ville
- A Profile of Teokgeo-ri
- A Profile of Uijongbu
- A Profile of USFK Camps In Uijongbu
- A Profile of Closed Out USFK Camps In Uijongbu
- A Profile of Camp Red Cloud
- A Profile USFK Camps In Seoul
- A Profile of the Korea Training Center
- A Profile of the Chinese Tunnel
- A Profile of Camp Mujuk
- A Profile of Camp Page
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