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Development of Daegu logistics hub on schedule

By FRANKLIN FISHER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 31, 2010

DAEGU, South Korea — The U.S. military’s transformation of its key network of logistics bases on the Korean peninsula is running on schedule and on budget, officials said.

Since work began to upgrade bases in the Daegu-Busan region in 2005, costs have run according to plan and appear likely to end up at the $1 billion mark, said Philip A. Molter, spokesman for the U.S. Army Garrison-Daegu, which manages most of the U.S. installations in the region.

“That’s right on target,” he said.

Work is scheduled to be completed in 2020, Molter said. Many of the remaining projects are to start this year, with the last of them scheduled to start in 2017.

What the U.S. military now calls the Daegu hub is where its main logistics facilities on the peninsula are concentrated, an arrangement that dates to the 1950-53 Korean War.

The overall development is part of the U.S. military’s plan to gradually realign its ground forces into two hubs, one in Pyeongtaek and the other in the Daegu region, said David Oten, a spokesman for U.S. Forces Korea.

The bulk of U.S. forces will move to the Pyeongtaek hub, anchored at Camp Humphreys in west-central South Korea. It’ll be home to combat forces and various senior U.S. military headquarters. Humphreys is currently being tripled in size at a projected cost of about $13 billion.

But it’s the Daegu hub in the southeast that officials say would have the crucially important wartime logistics role: getting masses of troops and combat equipment onto the peninsula by ship and airlift, marshalling them in staging areas, and then moving them forward to the battlefront, as well as sustaining friendly forces with supplies, equipment, and repair of battle-damaged items.

It would also be the chief evacuation point for most noncombatants at the outbreak of hostilities, Molter said.

“We’re how you get the supplies up north, and we’re how you get the noncombatant evacuees out south,” he said.

Among a long list of construction and other projects are new barracks and dining halls, schools and child care facilities, major upgrades to an existing commissary and post exchange, utilities upgrades and other improvements that will make logistical operations more modern and efficient, Army officials said.

Currently, the hub consists of several U.S. installations that lie within a 10,000-square-mile swath of southeastern South Korea, from below Daejeon to Busan, the country’s premier seaport.

Camp Carroll in Waegwan is the Army’s major repair, storage and supply distribution point. Its heavy equipment shops can repair battle-damaged tanks and other equipment so they can be returned to combat, said Col. Jeffery K. Ludwig, deputy commanding officer of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, the Army’s senior logistics command in South Korea.

In Busan, the Busan Storage Center is linked to the thriving seaport by roads and rail spurs.

The Army’s Pier 8 and other port facilities in Busan Harbor would be the primary wartime arrival point for vast quantities of combat and other equipment coming in by ship, Ludwig said.

“There’s enough room that you can receive and load up a significant amount of cargo,” he said.

The 19th ESC is headquartered at Camp Henry, as is the U.S. Army Garrison-Daegu. Camps Walker and George in Daegu serve various support functions. For example, a post exchange and commissary are at Walker, and the Daegu American School is at George.

Also within the hub’s geographic boundaries are Chinhae Naval Base, a logistics facility; Camp Mu Juk, a Marine logistics base; and Kimhae Air Base, a South Korean installation that in wartime would serve as the main arrival point for most ground troops being flown in during the early stages of an armed conflict, officials said.

“You always want a seaport and an airport in proximity,” Ludwig said. “Because all the equipment is coming in by sea, and you want troops close enough to be married up” with it before heading to the battlefront.

fisherf@pstripes.osd.mil

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