ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on December 23rd, 2007 at 7:26 pm

Camp Kyle: “A No Use Area”

Or so claims the ever trustworthy Korean media:

Handed back to South Korea several months ago, a former American military base, Camp Kyle, remains a no-use area.

Only a small group of South Korean soldiers wearing anti-contamination suits and jackboots can be seen as they work to curb the spread of pollution in the vast land in the heart of this city, just north of Seoul. [Yonhap]

The ignorance of this Yonhap reporter Lee Chi-dong who wrote this article is quite evident if you have ever been to Camp Kyle, which judging by Lee’s article, he probably has not. First of all Camp Kyle is not a “vast land” in the heart of Uijongbu. Camp Kyle was one of the smallest camps in USFK which housed only two company sized units. You can see for yourself with pictures of the camp I took earlier this year, which I posted right here on the ROK Drop:

This is not a “vast land” as the Yonhap reporter claims. Uijongbu has park land bigger than Camp Kyle. If the reporter wants to see a military camp that covers a “vast land” then he needs to go to Camp Casey because Camp Kyle is far from it. The camp is also on the outskirts of Uijongbu, located along the southern slopes of Cheonbo Mountain which I took the above picture from, not in the heart of Uijongbu as the reporter claims. The closed out Camp Falling Water, which is even smaller than Camp Kyle, is the USFK camp located in the heart of Uijongbu:

The most absurd aspect of the article is that the camp is so contaminated that South Korean soldiers are wearing “anti-contamination suits and jackboots”. I actually spoke to Korean soldiers manning the front gate of Camp Kyle because I wanted to go in and take some pictures of the camp. The soldiers would only tell me that no one was allowed in because the camp was now “top secret”. Since I couldn’t go in I walked over to the near by pedestrian overpass to take pictures. From the overpass you can see right into the camp.

So can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture?:

If you guessed that the Koreans in the picture are not wearing their supposed “anti-contamination suits and jackboots” you would be correct. I did not see one person on the camp wearing any protective gear. If I would have known that the Yonhap reporter would write such a ridiculous article I would have taken more photographs complete with video footage.

The pollution claims are just as false as this article because US soldiers have been serving on these camps for decades without the need of “anti-contamination suits and jackboots” with no ill side effects. A Korean government representative from the Agriculture and Foresty Ministry actually praised the US military for cleaning the camps to a much higher standard than a comparable Korean military camp.

However, since USFK does not vigorously defend itself against blatant propaganda such as this from Yonhap, the conventional wisdom will now become that Camp Kyle is a “no use area” with people walking around in “anti-contamination suits and jackboots” even though I have shown this to be totally absurd.

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  • Kakusu
    2:17 pm on December 23rd, 2007 1

    Amongst other things, I love the comment about "outdated barracks". As if the ROK army barracks are state of the art facilities. These buildings are the same buildings the soldiers are living on at CRC, Stanley and Casey. This reporter is an idiot.

  • Sonagi
    7:18 pm on December 23rd, 2007 2

    It's always interesting to read your debunking of Korean media-generated myths, but you're preaching to the choir in this forum. Why doesn't USFK go head to head with the Korean media? Have you ever tried to get an op-ed or at least a letter to the editor published? You're married to a translator. Koreans and Korean-Americans sure as hell don't sit on their hands when a unflattering story about Korea appears in the US media.

  • Sonagi
    7:19 pm on December 23rd, 2007 3

    I wonder if Dr. Yu will take this opportunity to give you another lecture about saying only nice things about Korea.

  • Bob Walsh
    9:40 pm on December 23rd, 2007 4

    He also needs a sense of scale:

    " The 117 Environment Battalion covering bases near Seoul said that it has so far collected 5.8 liters of surface oil at Camp Kyle alone.

    Lt. Col. Kim Hyung-myeong, the unit's commander, said it will take a long time and huge sums of money to normalize the land.

    According to some estimates, the clean-up efforts for the nine bases are expected to cost up to 100 billion won (US$106 million)."

    If the base was occupied for that long, and all they can scrape up is less than a gallon and a half of oil, I'd say Cp Kyle was always maintained in pristine condition. And $106 mil to clean up 9 bases is nothing.

  • Kingkitty
    10:02 pm on December 23rd, 2007 5

    Well Camp Kyle is my personal petpieve.

    I was stationed at Kyle in the early 90s and I think its a damn shame what the Koreans have done to this camp….I wish I had pictures but they do not cut the grass, they looted the barracks and all but done nothing at the camp, I too have tried to get the guards to let me take pictures but they also told me that it was top secret.

    There is a fairly new apartment building just to the rear side of the camp and if you climb up to about the 4th floor you can get some great pictures.

    Long live Camp Kyle and I think we should take it back if they dont want it.

    Camp La Guardia is another wasted camp in Uijongbu. Its totally negleted to the point of leaving the bay doors open at the Maintanance shops and hangers ensuring total decay of facilities, The barracks too is looted.

    Plus one of the last clubs just closed outside of its walls…I think there is one more,,,the Golden something….

    Essyones another waisted camp

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    10:48 pm on December 23rd, 2007 6

    Sonagi, I have not done such a thing because it would have to go through the USFK Public Affairs Office to avoid myself getting in trouble. So if I had to go through PAO anyway why doesn't USFK PAO do it themselves and make it an official response from USFK? I know some in the USFK PAO community read my blog; they can take information straight from here.

    I think the problem is that like most jobs in USFK, that people are here on short tours and just don't care enough or know enough to monitor and respond to all the anti-US propaganda out there.

    That was part of the problem in 2002. USFK and the US Embassy would issue press releases on their websites in English debunking the false claims in the media but the average Kim on the street was never going to read them thus the conventional wisdom to this day has Koreans thinking the soldiers ran over the girls and then backed up over them to make sure they were dead and then laughed about it afterwards and got in a brawl with KATUSAs.

    This is all ridiculous but it is amazing how many Koreans believe it to be true just like those following the pollution issue now probably think Camp Kyle is a no use area with people walking around in decontamination suits.

  • Cloying Odor
    2:51 am on December 24th, 2007 7

    it's "no use" area because the dirty filthy criminals in the ROK government can't reach an aggreement on which one of their cheabol friends gets to build high-rise apartments on the land. Koreans don't give a shit about 'pollution', they only care about getting paid. I will laugh myself silly whent their fictious real estate market crashes. Welcome to IMF2!!! Then the Korean economy will be a 'no use' area.

  • Sonagi
    3:23 am on December 24th, 2007 8

    USFK and the US Embassy would issue press releases on their websites in English debunking the false claims in the media but the average Kim on the street was never going to read them

    How absurd. We all love to laugh at VANK and other Korean propaganda organizations, but at least they bother to communicate in the languages of their target audience.

  • usinkorea
    8:41 am on December 24th, 2007 9

    I think it depends on the timing and issue. I know in some of the bigger cases played out in the press over the years, USFK did issue press packets in English and Korean and sent stuff to the press. On more than one occasion, I've read where they have brought a bus load of Korean media on different bases for tours of the areas reported heavily polluted and tours of USFK's environmental processes and so on……but the stuff never got into the press or what came out was a generic quote or simply a blanket denial followed and undermined by all the claims of pollution.

    I've seen this enough times to see there is a trend.

    USFK should put the stuff out, but they can't force the Korean press to print it.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    9:55 am on December 24th, 2007 10

    It is more than print though. How often on television do you see someone from USFK appearing on shows and engaging the media? They need to have Korean speaking PAOs appear on television regularly engaging the media. When I was living in Korea my wife would watch the Korean news every night and I would sit there and watch it with her and not once did I see a Korean speaking PAO engaging the media.

    Look at the USFK and 8th Army websites. First of all they are not well designed and don't even work well in Firefox. You would think that with the Korean media bashing USFK over camp pollution they would have a running archive of articles on their front page defending USFK. There is nothing. Additionally the websites do not have any Korean language counterparts.

    As far as the print media if they will not accurately print items from USFK then their press credentials to get on Yongsan should be pulled. That would probably straighten out some reporters right away. But if you can't even get your message accurately published on your own website is it any surprise the Korean media isn't either? USFK needs to get their own house in line and then start pro-actively engaging the media.

    However, like I said before I think few people follow what is going on in the Korean media and most people just care to little to do anything about it, even the people whose job it is to do something about it.

  • Beatinzone
    2:07 pm on December 24th, 2007 11

    Can one expect anything less from these so call allies? I wish the American public would open it's eyes to Korean antiUS BS.

  • Dan
    1:55 am on December 25th, 2007 12

    @ Beatinzone

    Sitting here south of Memphis TN, and I can tell you this about the average "john Q. Public"; He/she never heard of Korea, couldn't find it on a map, and doesn't know any Americans are in Asia much less some place called "Korea". I only know because I was there three tours. Korea is a "non-place" to most Americans. The Moon is better known. Oh, wait. John Q Public did hear of Korea once in 2007. Some nut-case went on a shooting spree and killed a bunch of college students. He was called the "VT shooter" and he was from someplace called Korea. That got press for a couple of weeks.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    3:36 am on December 25th, 2007 13

    To expand on Dan's comment, a really educated “John Q. Public” might of heard of North Korea testing a nuclear bomb if your lucky. That is how the Korean government is able to keep the USFK gravy train going all these year because of how ignorant the American public and most importantly the American government is to what is going on in Korea.

  • usinkorea
    5:57 am on December 25th, 2007 14

    And the reason I have kept interest in the whole thing is: despite the ignorance, there is no place on earth where the US has more at stake —- whether things become a large scale general war (perhaps if the North begins to collapse and goes for broke) or a nuclear explosion….

  • kwandongbrian
    9:02 am on December 25th, 2007 15

    I gotta disagree GI. The place looked pretty bad in when I visited:

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    1:35 pm on December 25th, 2007 16

    Brian that is pretty funny. LOL :)

  • Sonagi
    4:45 pm on December 25th, 2007 17

    That IS funny, Brian!

  • Beatinzone
    2:07 am on December 26th, 2007 18

    I know Korea remains unknown to a lot of America, that's why I said I wish the public would wake up to the Korean BS. If the American people knew how the sacrifices of GIs, past and present, aren't respected by most Koreans, things would be a changin. It sickening and saddening at the same time. America doesn't need allies like Korea.

  • gangwon notes: Camp Kyle looks a mess.
    7:03 am on January 21st, 2008 19

    [...] gotta disagree with GI Korea; Camp Kyle looks like a “no use area” to me.Just kidding. Of course, this is Taean, where many are [...]

  • Top Ten Reasons You May Be A Korean Environmentalist
    8:49 am on February 29th, 2008 20

    [...] You believe you need to wear a decontamination suit to visit a local USFK installation-  You believe that formaldehyde diluted with water and [...]

  • A Profile of USFK Camps in Uijongbu
    9:05 am on August 10th, 2008 21

    [...] that is not a massive oil slick on the camp as the anti-US groups would have you believe, but just water from an earlier rain shower. I did see some ROK Army trucks moving around the camp, [...]

  • American G.I.
    5:35 pm on January 21st, 2009 22

    I was stationed at this god awful base from December of 2002 through December of 2003. The camp was not all that bad when I was there. The facilities were always kept in pristine condition and my platoon always picked up trash around our maintenance buildings. I was a gunsmith for the U.S.Army at that base and we also had truck mechanics there. They really made it feel like home and even installed high speed internet in the barracks for us and new furniture. Hope you enjoy reading this.

  • earl
    2:17 pm on March 7th, 2010 23

    I was really sorry to hear that the koreans had taken over camp kyle I was stationed there from 1973-1974 and always thought of it as a nice camp. It was a lot cleaner than the rest of the country and i saw a lot of it.But then it is Korea

  • Bill B.
    4:29 pm on March 28th, 2010 24

    This is pure antiAmerican propaganda. When the ROK closes a camp, and there have been some. The don't go to such great expense. They just come in level the area and rebuild. This is nuts.

  • Kevin Wieskamp
    12:52 pm on February 26th, 2011 25

    I was stationed at camp kyle back in 1977-78 i was their when they put in their new barracks and it was a long wait. when they put the katusas in them they didnt give a rats ass

  • Kevin Wieskamp
    12:57 pm on February 26th, 2011 26

    I wasnt finished. we all had a blast at the NCO club enlisted and officers. I looked on the internet where in world did all the apartment buildings come from/ my email address is i would like to here from people that were their when i was.

  • Victoria
    2:05 am on January 11th, 2013 27

    Can anybody tell me anything new about Cp Kyle?

  • Bill B.
    7:31 pm on January 11th, 2013 28

    @Victoria, yes it’s gone. Nothing but piles of dirt.

  • DavePaullin
    9:23 pm on April 10th, 2013 29

    Camp Kyle was closed (2005) and the entire compound has been cleared to the ground across the entire perimeter, all the way to the walls. All is flat and clear. Same for the adjacent Camp Sears, and the nearby Camp Essayons.
    Here is the future for these camps:
    1. Camp Sears has (and continues to have) construction being conducted on its former location. A very large and modern Gyonggi Province Police Department structure now sits at the rear of the former camp, with a new modern road entrance.
    2. Moving westward to the former Camp Kyle, construction continues on a new mountain highway bypass around Mt. Chunbo(-san), and the engineers are being careful to work through numerous gravesites on the lower slopes of the hills behind Kyle, although a primary excavation of earth exists, and sets of sewage and drainage pipes are in pre-position. An elementary school now sits on a hillside behind the area between Kyle and Sears. The perimeter wall of Kyle remains intact at this time, and no construction is underway on the ground there. All the railroad tracks have recently been removed as well.
    3. Camp Essasyons has been selected to contain a new hospital. Construction has begun, with a set of logistics containers in place for directing the work, and a metallic barrier wall being built inside the conctrete wall, which remains intact as well. The main thoroughfare in front of Essayons is now 6-8 lanes (impressive), and the railroad tracks have been all removed.
    All in all, Uijongbu developers have done a good job of putting these area back into their infrastructure. This general neighborhood for these three camps is known as Gumoh-dong, and was a pretty low income area, but provided good support to the troops stationed there over the years. LMK if you want some pictures, before they become un-recognize-able!

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    4:35 am on April 11th, 2013 30

    Here are pictures of the closed out camps in Uijongbu that I took two years ago for those interested:

  • Dave Paullin
    6:34 am on April 11th, 2013 31

    Nice shots. But 6 of them do not appear, they are total blackouts. Not sure why…the others did appear with crystal clarity.

    Currently, the potential lake hole at Kyle is now blended and filled in to where the entire plot of Kyle is flat.

    The construction behind Sears that your shots showed is now complete – the police headquarters.

    The Gumho-dong neighborhood is pretty quiet these days.

  • Glans
    8:48 am on April 11th, 2013 32

    Dave, some of GI’s pix looked black to me, too. I reckon they’re classified.

  • Dave Paullin
    3:18 pm on April 11th, 2013 33

    OK, so it’s not just my system – cool. But…classified? Why? Weren’t nothing there!

  • Glans
    4:04 pm on April 11th, 2013 34

    Dave, when the Norks are developing weapons of mass destruction, do you want them to know where things are or aren’t, were or weren’t? :grin:

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    5:02 am on April 12th, 2013 35

    @33- Some of my older posts WordPress has been acting weird and dropped a lot of pictures for some reason. When I get time I will need to go and fix them.

  • Glans
    6:53 am on April 12th, 2013 36

    GI Korea, that’s a good explanation. I totally believe it.

  • Camille Wyndham
    6:02 am on July 28th, 2013 37

    I served at Camp Kyle from 1992-1993 for 21 months in SAACT 1 Company (Ordinance)and lived in the quansit huts next to the motor pool. I left Korea and went to Ft. Benning where I ETS when my 4 years were up. In 2009 I was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) at the age of 36. The doctors said I had MDS for at least 10-15 years and it was caused by a chemical(s) that compromised my immune system. Since leaving the Army I’ve worked in an office so my best clue was the Army. After researching I have found that the water and soil was contaminated at Camp Kyle and other camps as well. I’m looking for veterans who served at Camp Kyle and have “mysterious” medical problems. I plan on filing a claim with the VA, but I fear that thousands my have exposed and are due restitution.


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