With the current Key Resolve exercise in South Korea concluded I figured now would be a good time to write a little bit about where the US Marines participating in the exercise are based out of, Camp Mujuk near Pohang:
Camp Mujuk means “invincible” in Korean and is an 84 acre facility located approximately 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul and 6 kilometers south of the port city of Pohang. The camp was established in 1980 to assist the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) with training deployments to the Korean peninsula. The camp used to be owned by the ROK Marine Corps, but as part of the camp close outs and consolidations that began back in 2004, Camp Mujuk became the responsibility of the US Marine Corps to maintain:
When viewed on Google Earth the small size of this facility is quite evident:
Camp Mujuk’s location is Pohang is important because it is only about a mile from the home base of the 1st ROK Marine Corps Division. The camp is used as a base to house Marines that rotate to the peninsula for various exercises such as Foal Eagle, Key Resolve, and Ulchi Focus Lens (UFL), which is where US Marines train with their ROK Marine Corps counterparts. Though the US Marines only come on the peninsula to train with their ROK Marine counterparts they are still subject to anti-US protests at just about every training exercise they conduct on the peninsula to include even this years 2010 Key Resolve exercise:
In preparation for these regular training exercises a small detachment of Marines man the camp full time. According to Global Security.com the camp is manned with 32 Marines full time who usually rotate out after 6 months. With such a small full time troop presence at Camp Mujuk this means that the camp has limited facilities such as a mini-PX and barber shop:
The camp does have the ROK Hard Cafe, which I suspect visiting troops probably share chuckle about when they see the cafe’s name:
Besides being a camp for visiting Marines to house themselves at during training exercises the camp also serves to maintain pre-positioned aviation and ground ordinance facilities in the area. Here is a look at the facilities that Camp Mujuk has for visiting Marines:
Here Camp Mujuk’s headquarters area with the American and ROK flags flying overhead:
I am curious what the other two flag poles are used for if anyone knows?
You can see the camp’s gym on the right of this picture that I’m sure gets plenty of use when visiting Marines are on the base:
Besides getting a good work out and the gym, visiting US Marines also get plenty exercise by training with their ROK Marine counterparts:
When Marines are not training they are also trying to make a positive impact within the Korean community by conducting Good Neighbor activities such as sponsoring orphanages:
The barracks the US Marines stay at are about three years old and are apartment style with refrigerators, microwaves, and washers & dryers:
Like other US camps in Korea, Camp Mujuk also has markers commemorating Heroes of the Korean War such as Marine Corporal Joseph Vittori who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions during the Korean War:
Corporal Vittori was killed in action against the Chinese on September 16, 1951. Here is his Medal of Honor citation:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman in Company F, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in actions against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on 15 and 16 September 1951. With a forward platoon suffering heavy casualties and forced to withdraw under a vicious enemy counterattack as his company assaulted strong hostile forces entrenched on Hill 749, Corporal Vittori boldly rushed through the withdrawing troops with two other volunteers from his reserve platoon and plunged directly into the midst of the enemy. Overwhelming them in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle, he enabled his company to consolidate its positions to meet further imminent on slaughts. Quick to respond to an urgent call for a rifleman to defend a heavy machine gun positioned on the extreme point of the northern flank and virtually isolated from the remainder of the unit when the enemy again struck in force during the night, he assumed position under the devastating barrage and, fighting a singlehanded battle, leaped from one flank to the other, covering each foxhole in turn as casualties continued to mount, manning a machine gun when the gunner was struck down and making repeated trips through the heaviest shellfire to replenish ammunition. With the situation becoming extremely critical, reinforcing units to the rear pinned down under the blistering attack and foxholes left practically void by dead and wounded for a distance of 100 yards (91 m), Corporal Vittori continued his valiant stand, refusing to give ground as the enemy penetrated to within feet of his position, simulating strength in the line and denying the foe physical occupation of the ground. Mortally wounded by enemy machine-gun and rifle bullets while persisting in his magnificent defense of the sector where approximately 200 enemy dead were found the following morning, Corporal Vittori, by his fortitude, stouthearted courage and great personal valor, had kept the point position intact despite the tremendous odds and undoubtedly prevented the entire battalion position from collapsing. His extraordinary heroism throughout the furious night-long battle reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Here is another Marine hero commemorated at Camp Mujuk, Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Gordon:
Lieutenant Colonel Gordon was a veteran of World War II before seeing service in the Korean War. During the war he was the pilot of a AD-2 Skyraider or Marine Attack Squadron 121. On November 18, 1951, while on a combat mission over North Korea, his aircraft was struck by anti-aircraft fire and caught fire. LTC Gordon tried to bail out at a low altitude but was killed during the attempt. Lieutenant Colonel Gordon was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
That is it for the Camp Mujuk history lesson, which as readers can see isn’t much considering it is a small camp that has a small permanent troop presence, but that doesn’t mean the camp isn’t important. It is the premier site to host training between two important allied forces; the US Marines and the ROK Marine Corps. The importance of this camp will ensure that it will continue to play an important part of the US-ROK alliance long after many other camps of similar size are closed on the peninsula.
Note: Special thanks to ROK Drop reader and contributor Jim for forwarding most of the above pictures to me to post on.