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The 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army and Korean Theater of Operations Museum reopened at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Oct. 19, 2022, after $2.1 million in renovations.

The 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army and Korean Theater of Operations Museum reopened at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Oct. 19, 2022, after $2.1 million in renovations. (David Choi/Stars and Stripes)

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — A museum dedicated to telling the history of the Eighth Army and the 2nd Infantry Division reopened on Wednesday after a $2.1 million renovation.

The 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army and Korean Theater of Operations Museum at Camp Humphreys opened its doors after eight months of revamping that installed interactive, hand-drawn displays and a small theater.

The spruce-up was done by “some of the best museum professionals in the world,” including those who worked on the National Museum of Korea, museum director and retired Army colonel William Alexander said during a reopening ceremony attended by soldiers and officials from Gyeonggi province on Wednesday.

“This is just the start,” Alexander said. “We have more to go — landscaping, more artifacts, more displays and it’ll be really outstanding.”

Once inside the museum, visitors are greeted by an OH-58D Kiowa helicopter that served in Bosnia in 1997, Kosovo in 2002 and Iraq in 2004, where it was struck by small arms fire.

The Medal of Honor posthumously awarded to Army Sgt. 1st Class William Sitman is on display at the 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army and Korean Theater of Operations Museum at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Oct. 19, 2022.

The Medal of Honor posthumously awarded to Army Sgt. 1st Class William Sitman is on display at the 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army and Korean Theater of Operations Museum at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Oct. 19, 2022. (David Choi/Stars and Stripes)

A soldier checks out a display inside the newly renovated 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army and Korean Theater of Operations Museum at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Oct. 19, 2022.

A soldier checks out a display inside the newly renovated 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army and Korean Theater of Operations Museum at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Oct. 19, 2022. (David Choi/Stars and Stripes)

Among the museum’s more than 2,000 items is a 2nd ID patch worn by NASA astronaut and Air Force Gen. Michael Collins during the Apollo 11 flight to the moon in 1969. The patch was originally worn by his father, James Collins, who was the division’s commander in 1939.

Also on display are priceless artifacts, like a Medal of Honor awarded to Army Sgt. 1st Class William Sitman of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd ID, during the Korean War. Sitman posthumously earned the medal after he threw himself on an enemy grenade to protect five other soldiers in his squad on Feb. 14, 1951.

Lifelike mannequins depicting combat first aid and other scenarios from World War I, World War II and the 1950-53 Korean War are displayed with speakers playing sounds from battle.

The museum’s “priceless collection” of artifacts is important in training and developing new soldiers, according to Charles Bowery Jr., executive director of the Army’s Center of Military History.

“The Army’s history matters to soldiers,” he said during the ceremony. “The insignia that you wear on your uniforms, the places around you, the places you serve have a deep meaning in all our past.”

Eighth Army commander Lt. Gen. Bill Burleson, who also attended the ceremony, said the museum honored the U.S.-South Korea military alliance and the soldiers who upheld that partnership.

“Ultimately, not only is this about an alliance but it's about the history of soldiers, soldiers who have personally sacrificed and have served tours here in Korea both during the war, as well as since the war and into the future,” he said.

Roughly 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea, the majority of them at Humphreys. The 2nd ID traces its lineage to 1917 and World War I and has produced 40 Medal of Honor recipients, according to the division’s webpage.

A view of the theater inside the newly renovated 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army and Korean Theater of Operations Museum at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Oct. 19, 2022.

A view of the theater inside the newly renovated 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army and Korean Theater of Operations Museum at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Oct. 19, 2022. (David Choi/Stars and Stripes)

David Choi is based in South Korea and reports on the U.S. military and foreign policy. He served in the U.S. Army and California Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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