Camp Edwards closure contiues with move of vehicles to Camp Casey
By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 9, 2004
CAMP EDWARDS, South Korea — With the closure of Camp Edwards, the 2nd Infantry Division’s Western Corridor home base, the division’s road crew is on its way to Camp Casey.
The last big convoy of 82nd Engineer Company (combat support equipment) vehicles left Edwards on Friday, shifting dozens of bulldozers, scrapers, vibe rollers, graders, trucks and other road construction equipment to Casey.
Capt. Saiprasad Srinivasan, commander of Camp Edwards and the 82nd Engineers, said by next week the unit’s operations will be run from Camp Casey with just a few soldiers left at Edwards to clean up. The veteran of three South Korean tours, including the past 10 months at Edwards, said he was sad to see the base close.
The facility also is home to 168th Medical Company, 618th Medical Battalion and a Korean Service Corps construction platoon that built villages used to train 2nd ID soldiers deploying to Iraq this summer, Srinivasan said.
In 2000, Camp Edwards’ commissary moved to Camp Howze, which also is closing, but still at Edwards, he said, are a gymnasium, KATUSA snack bar, library, dining facility, outdoor swimming pool and the Wolverine Inn.
The base launched many road works projects the U.S. military required in Area I, Srinivasan said.
“We cover almost 200 square kilometers from here to the Korea Training Center and as far south as Camp Humphries on occasion. When we have floods we have to repair ford sites for heavy vehicles. This summer while we were training the 2nd Brigade Combat Team [for its Iraq mission], there was a lot of mud being tracked on the roads at Chaparral Training Area and we laid a lot of gravel,” Srinivasan said.
Camp Edwards’ two motor pools house road construction equipment, which is being moved to Camp Casey. The 82nd operates 110 vehicles, including 26,000-lb. compactors, 63,000-lb. scrapers and 26,000-lb. vibe rollers.
Some of the equipment could be driven to Camp Casey, but other pieces had to be hauled on trailers, Srinivasan said.
“In a lot of ways the move is going to be beneficial. We do parts runs every day where we have to drive to Camp Casey and back, so a lot of those individual movements are going to be consolidated in one place,” he said.
However, leaving Camp Edwards is emotional for the commander.
“I have been here longer than most soldiers. I first came to the Western Corridor in 1996 with the 44th Engineer Battalion [now serving in Iraq],” said Srinivasan, who is looking after the 44th’s mascot, a large dog named Bruno.
An advance party already had been at Camp Casey for several weeks preparing buildings for the bulk of the company, he said. “By next week the focus at Camp Edwards will be closing out and cleaning up.”
The 82nd had a special relationship with the town, hosting a Halloween Party for children from a local orphanage, he said.
One of the soldiers helping prepare equipment for the move, Pvt. Julio Villanueva, 22, of Chicago, said his room at Camp Casey will be smaller than his room at Camp Edwards, but he’s looking forward to being in a larger camp with a post exchange.
Another soldier helping with the move, Sgt. Joseph Gardner, 28, of Shreveport, La., spent two years at Camp Edwards and remembers climbing up the hill behind the camp to view Paju and the surrounding mountains and countryside. “I’ll miss it, but like everything you have to move on,” he said. “We are going to a bigger installation with a lot more people around.”
Camp Casey’s new motor pool will be an improvement over Edwards’s two motor pools, Gardner said: “There we will all be together.”