One of things I did on my recent trip to Korea was to stop by Uijongbu and takes some pictures of the old USFK camps that were closed within the city limits in 2005. This below Google Earth image shows the locations of USFK camps in Uijongbu:
The camps that were closed in 2005 were Camp Kyle, Camp Essayons, and Camp Sears at the base of Cheonbo-san Mountain as well Camp Falling Water and Camp La Guardia near the Uijongbu Train Station.
The first camp I stopped by was Camp Sears. Here is what Camp Sears looked like from its front gate back when it was open:
Here is what it looks like from its front gate today:
The entire camp has been completely leveled. This isn’t completely surprising considering there really wasn’t any good buildings on the camp that could be reused anyway. Back when the camp closed there was still some people living in quonset huts. Walking around the front of the construction site I could see that a large building was being constructed:
Back when the camp was slated to be handed over the Uijongbu government was going to make this into a park and a administrative center for the rapidly growing Guemo-dong neighborhood of Uijongbu. I’m not sure if that is still the plan today, but I think it would be an effective use of this land.
Really the only thing left standing from the old Camp Sears are its walls that surround the perimeter of the property, everything else is gone:
Something that was really disappointing to me that I noticed at ground level, but had a better view of it once I climbed up Cheonbo-san Mountain, was how nearly all the trees were leveled with the rest of the camp:
Camp Sears was a very green camp with many large trees on it. I think it is unfortunate that all these trees were leveled as part of the redevelopment.
From Camp Sears I walked over to nearby Camp Kyle. Near the entrance of Camp Kyle there is a pedestrian overpass that looks right into the camp:
There was no buildings left standing from the old Camp Kyle and I can only assume that the large hole that was dug on this camp was to remove polluted soil:
ROK Drop readers may remember that Camp Kyle was one of the front line camps in the USFK camp pollution issue. Some in the Korean media claimed that Camp Kyle was so polluted that workers had to wear decontamination suits to enter the camp. I of course debunked that claim.
I was wondering since they had such a big hole if the government would possibly make a park with lake on it? Here is a view from above the camp where the large hole can be more easily seen:
I couldn’t find any signs or anything on the Internet in regards to what the old Camp Kyle land would be used for, but I think a park with a lake would be a great idea:
Here is a picture from the front gate of the old Camp Kyle:
Here was a signed posted out side of Camp Kyle that lists the noise decibel level from the ongoing work to clean up the camp. The sign also mentions that the company is busy cleaning up pollution left by the US military:
The pollution concerns however have not stopped people from planting crops along the perimeter of the camp:
Camp Falling Water
The next camp that was closed out in Uijongbu is Camp Falling Water. This camp used to be located right near the old Uijongbu Train Station. However, the train station has been completely torn down and a newer and much larger train station is being constructed using the adjacent land from the old Camp Falling Water:
Camp La Guardia
Another camp that was closed out in Uijongbu was Camp La Guardia. This camp used to be an airfield for US forces in Uijongbu, but the dramatic growth of the city made it unfeasible as an airport. So before the camp was closed out in 2005 it was used to park heavy equipment from an engineer boat company. With a large airstrip in the middle of the city, someone wisely decided to use it to make a large stretch of the new Uijongbu U-Line light rail system on. In this picture I took from the summit of Cheonbo-san Mountain you can see the elevated track of the U-Line that was made over the old Camp La Guardia:
Finally here is a picture of the front gate of the final base I visited, Camp Essayons:
I really didn’t have time to walk around a get some more pictures of Camp Essayons because of the rain that was falling the day I took this picture. However, just like the other US bases, Camp Essayons was also completely leveled and the sign on the upper right of the picture states that this land was going to be used to construct a new university hospital. This is a great use of the land because this side of town could really use a new hospital.
Here is an aerial view of how Camp Essayons looked just over a year ago:
Here is how it looks today when viewed from Cheonbo-san Mountain behind the camp:
Overall, it is great to see that this land is finally being developed after the long pollution fight that saw these old camps stand in limbo for a few years. I look forward to returning to Uijongbu and taking more pictures of these old camps once the redevelopment of this land is complete. Heck if the Uijongbu government takes up my idea of making a lake maybe I can even go fishing on the old Camp Kyle land!
For those interested in the USFK camps in Uijongbu I highly recommend reading these prior ROK Drop postings:
- A Profile of USFK Camps In Uijongbu
- A Google Earth Profile of Uijongbu
- A Pictorial History of Camp Stanley
- A Profile of Camp Red Cloud
Finally for those interested in keeping up to date on all the latest news from the ROK Drop I highly recommend subscribing to my RSS feed or receive updates via e-mail: