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CAMP HOVEY, South Korea — The 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division has moved into its new command center, touting it as a kind of above-ground bunker.

The two-story, 12,000-squarefoot building allows the brigade’s command staff to finally gather under one roof, the commander said.

“This will consolidate our staff. Before, we were spread out over 11 Quonset huts and buildings scattered across Camp Hovey,” 2nd Brigade commander Col. Gary Patton said, according to an Army press release.

The $2.3 million project began in March 2002, with most construction completed by October. Officials from Sambu Construction Co., which headed the command center project, believe the building is unique from other U.S. military centers in South Korea.

“We installed blast-proof doors and windows. I believe this is a first in all of Korea,” said Park Houn-dong, the Sambu project manager.

Another unique touch was provided by Grand Master Kim Mun-ok, who leads the 2nd ID tae kwon do program. He donated a set of mirrors to be placed in the hallways, as a not-so-subtle reminder to soldiers and command staff to present themselves with pride and dignity.

The design work was the product of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Far East District and the funding came from Congress, officials said. But Sambu will be kept busy on Hovey, with some 200 construction workers finishing up $20 million in building projects, including new barracks and headquarters for the 2nd Batallion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment.

Sambu’s next big project is upgrading the camp’s sewage system, officials said.

At Friday’s opening ceremony, Patton resisted the urge to do a little reminiscing. He served a tour as a young captain at Camp Hovey in 1983, he said, and was considering sharing memories of what the camp looked like then.

“But,” he said Friday, “that would be looking back. This is not a day for looking back. It is a day for looking forward.”

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