CAMP STANLEY, South Korea — Gate guards here now greet visitors with a hearty cry of “Champions” instead of the “Second to none” heard at this facility for more than three decades.
Command of Camp Stanley passed from the 2nd Infantry Division’s Fires Brigade to the 501st Corps Support Group on Monday, marking the end of 34 years occupation by 2nd Infantry Division units. Army records show the facility opened as a tent city in 1955 and has been home to various 2nd ID units since 1971.
Second ID’s departure from Camp Stanley — a result of the U.S. Army’s transformation and base realignment process on the peninsula — was swift. The Fires Brigade and 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment already have relocated to Camp Casey. Another Camp Stanley-based unit, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, will join them later this month. And 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation left for Camp Humphreys in June.
Along with the 501st, units moving to the base this year include the 498th Combat Support Battalion; 46th Transportation Company; 61st Maintenance Company; 305th Quartermaster Company; Detachment A, 168th Medical Company; 304th Signal Battalion and the 15th Korean Service Corps Company, officials said.
On Thursday morning, 501st Commander Col. Jayne Carson of Annandale, Va., stood amid soldiers unpacking photographs, honors boards and various other symbols of the unit brought from their old home at Camp Red Cloud to hang on the wall of her new headquarters.
Initially 300 soldiers with the 501st will be based at Camp Stanley, but once other units arrive the population will rise to around 1,500, down from a population of about 2,800 when 2nd ID was there. The camp will be the hub for the 501st’s operations, which involve 2,000 soldiers spread across 22 camps all over the peninsula, Carson said.
In Area I, the 501st provides combat service support services to 2nd ID. That includes supply, maintenance, transport and movement control as well as postal and personnel service support, she said.
The character of the base will probably not change greatly with the new units, Carson said — but some of the new soldiers have noticed that their new work and living environments are different from the old.
The ban on personally owned vehicles in Area I affected many lieutenants and noncommissioned officers who have moved north from Camp Humphreys. Another big change is the lack of families or children at Camp Stanley compared to Camp Humphreys, she said.
The 46th Transportation Company has parked dozens of palletized load system vehicles on the base airstrip where Black Hawk helicopters used to hover.
On Thursday, 46th Transportation Company truck driver Pfc. Jeffrey Coleman, 20, of New York was busy hooking up a trailer to one of the massive vehicles to check if any parts were cracked or missing.
Coleman said he left his wife behind at Camp Humphreys when his unit moved north.
“She lives on-post. I’m trying to go down there every weekend right now,” he said.
One change obvious to 46th soldiers moving to Area I is the regular alerts that require them to wake up at night and turn out in “full battle rattle” when a siren goes off, something that did not happen at Camp Humphreys, Coleman said.
Another 46th soldier newly arrived at the base, Pfc. Joseph Shook, 21, of Hagerstown, Ind., said he had noticed the stricter rules in Area I.
“Around here you can’t wear sleeveless shirts or sandals. At Humphreys you could,” he said.
The 46th traded a big maintenance shop at Humphreys for a much smaller building at Camp Stanley that is on the opposite side of the airstrip from the unit’s offices. A larger hangar nearby that was vacated by 1-2 Aviation is earmarked for the Department of Public Works workers due to move there from Camp Falling Water later this year, Shook said.