American Korean Veterans Reflect on the Past, Look to the Future | Item












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Claire Chiofar, US Forces Korea Veteran (front left), Tim Whitmore, director of the Korean War Veterans Association (front right), David Beam, US Forces Korea veteran (back left) and his wife Katherine Abbott-Beam (right back) listen to a briefing on Yongsan’s transfer to Camp Humphreys during the ROK Department of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Revisit Korea program on December 3, 2021.
(Photo credit: Sgt. Courtney Davis)


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Col. Seth Graves, commander of the U.S. Army Humphreys Garrison, U.S. veterans and their spouses, and representatives of the Korean War Veterans Association pose during the Department's Revisit Korea program luncheon Republic of Korea Patriots and Veterans Affairs at River Bend Golf Course on Camp Humphreys December 3, 2021.








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Col. Seth Graves, commander of the U.S. Army Humphreys Garrison, U.S. veterans and their spouses, and representatives of the Korean War Veterans Association pose during the Department’s Revisit Korea program luncheon Republic of Korea Patriots and Veterans Affairs at River Bend Golf Course on Camp Humphreys December 3, 2021.
(Photo credit: Sgt. Courtney Davis)


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David Beam, a veteran of US forces in Korea, puts his 2nd Infantry Division hat on his knee during the ROK Department of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Revisit Korea program orientation at Camp Humphreys December 3, 2021.








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David Beam, a veteran of US forces in Korea, puts his 2nd Infantry Division hat on his knee during the ROK Department of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Revisit Korea program orientation at Camp Humphreys December 3, 2021.
(Photo credit: Sgt. Courtney Davis)


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CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea (December 8, 2021) – The ROK Department of Patriots and Veterans Affairs hosted former U.S. military personnel for a Revisit Korea program orientation and base tour at Camp Humphreys on December 3.

While the program was previously dedicated to servicemen who served in the Korean War, it now welcomes all former servicemen of the US forces in Korea and honors their contribution to the ROK-US alliance.

“I served from 1986 to 1987 with the 51st Security Police Squadron in Osan, and worked with the ROK Army on the gates of the air base,” said Mark McCraw. “I had a lot of people who served in the military. My wife was in the navy and my grandfathers were in the Korean War so I’m really excited to be here for the revisit tour.

George Kranske, deputy administrative director of the USFK’s transformation and restoration office, painted a vivid picture of Camp Humphreys before 2007. It started out as a sea-level base with just an airstrip surrounded by rice paddies. and several Korean villages. For three to four years, 5,000-pound trucks dumped soil on the land every day to create a lofty foundation, he explained.

Many veterans’ faces lit up as they remembered what it was like to be stationed on a peninsula as rural as Korea decades ago.

“I was actually in the north, near the DMZ. We were a powerful missile battalion. It was five miles from the Imjin River. We did air defense for the DMZ area. We were integrated into the 2nd Infantry Division, ”said Paul Mallory. “I’m just very interested to see what the Korean people have done. It’s very interesting to see how they grew up, and how they built the whole area is different from when I was here. There were dirt roads and grass huts and just little huts. Since when I was here, it’s a hell of a difference.




Col. Seth Graves, US Army Humphreys Garrison Commander, chats with former US Forces Korea service members visiting as part of the ROK Department of Patriots and Veterans Revisit the Korea program before a windshield tour of Camp Humphreys on December 3, 2021.








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Col. Seth Graves, US Army Humphreys Garrison Commander, chats with former US Forces Korea service members visiting as part of the ROK Department of Patriots and Veterans Revisit the Korea program before a windshield tour of Camp Humphreys on December 3, 2021.
(Photo credit: Sgt. Courtney Davis)


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Dawne McCraw (left) and Deirdre Howardson (center) discover newly constructed soldier quarters at Camp Humphreys during the ROK Department of Patriots and Veterans Affairs' Revisit Korea program windshield tour December 3, 2021.








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Dawne McCraw (left) and Deirdre Howardson (center) discover newly constructed soldier quarters at Camp Humphreys during the ROK Department of Patriots and Veterans Affairs’ Revisit Korea program windshield tour December 3, 2021.
(Photo credit: Sgt. Courtney Davis)


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Tim Whitmore, director of the Korean War Veterans Association, tells stories of his past service while stationed in South Korea during the Republic of Korea Department of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Revisit Korea lunch program at the River Bend Golf Course on Camp Humphreys on December 3, 2021.








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Tim Whitmore, director of the Korean War Veterans Association, tells stories of his past service while stationed in South Korea during the Republic of Korea Department of Patriots and Veterans Affairs Revisit Korea lunch program at the River Bend Golf Course on Camp Humphreys on December 3, 2021.
(Photo credit: Sgt. Courtney Davis)


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Col. Seth Graves, Commander of the U.S. Army Humphreys Garrison, greeted the veterans and took a tour of the windshield to show how Humphreys has changed.

“I just want to thank you all for your service. I am very happy to give you a tour and show you the Army’s latest facility in terms of facilities and the largest OCONUS DoD facility, ”said Graves. “We have a very functional, state-of-the-art facility here at Camp Humphreys, and we have a lot to show you. I think you will be very impressed with how the facility has gone from what it was to what it is today.

Heads turned left and right as Graves pointed out the main buildings and attractions of the garrison. He explained that Humphreys is now encouraging soldiers to bring their families on their tour of South Korea. Many veterans asked how soldiers get around such a large base without private vehicles, and Graves explained the base’s taxi services and the entire public bus system.

Fingers pointed to windows and cameras flashed as they passed the outdoor pool, the Humphreys Downtown Plaza, schools, and towers of family housing. The veterans seemed astonished and proud that their service and sacrifice alongside their Korean counterparts had contributed to the growth and prosperity of South Korea today.

“I was at Red Cloud for a year, and that was enough for me at the time. We lived in Quonset huts. There were a lot of dirt roads. We saw women washing clothes in the cove, so it was a cross between ‘Mash’ and ‘China Beach’, but we had a great time and we loved the people, ”said Deirdre Howardson. “It was wonderful to come back to Korea. It is so different. They have grown and prospered so much, and I hope I played a small role in defending their freedom and democracy so that they can grow up that way.


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