Subscribe
Soldiers explore a new urban training center at Camp Hovey, South Korea, in this undated file photo.

Soldiers explore a new urban training center at Camp Hovey, South Korea, in this undated file photo. (Erik Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

Soldiers explore a new urban training center at Camp Hovey, South Korea, in this undated file photo.

Soldiers explore a new urban training center at Camp Hovey, South Korea, in this undated file photo. (Erik Slavin/Stars and Stripes)

Korean Service Corps executive officer, Maj. Mike Hatmaker, Korean Service Corps executive officer, and Chon Kye-hwan, commander, at the new urban training center.

Korean Service Corps executive officer, Maj. Mike Hatmaker, Korean Service Corps executive officer, and Chon Kye-hwan, commander, at the new urban training center. (Erik Slavin / S&S)

CAMP HOVEY, South Korea — A new urban training site will make operations ranging from convoy command to encampment assaults more accessible to 2nd Infantry Division soldiers, officials said at the site’s unveiling Monday.

The Sueng Ji Gol Village site consists of 127 metal shipping crates bolted and stacked together over six blocks to simulate conditions soldiers might encounter in local villages.

Until now, units practicing urban training had to train in the field at Rodriguez Range, about 40 minutes north of camps Casey and Hovey in Dongducheon.

“The only time a unit uses [the Rodriguez Range facility] is at gunnery, so 90 percent of the year, they don’t have access,” said Maj. Shane Gries of the 2nd ID operations training section.

The six blocks replicate village residences, an office building and a city center with a town hall. Abandoned vehicles and other clutter will be added in the near future for authenticity, officials said.

Army soldiers and the 2nd Korean Service Corps Company completed the facility for less than $30,000, officials said. KSC workers gathered the materials from closed bases all over the peninsula. Furniture destined for landfills was used for some of the mock residences.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Martz, assistant division commander (maneuver), said the site compared favorably with a larger urban complex at the National Training center at Fort Irwin, Calif. The bill for that completed site, including the cost of materials from contractors: $6 million.

“This one costs about $5.9 million less than the one we had in California,” Martz said. “And I’m here to tell you that having seen both places, this one is better constructed.”

The ability to enter and clear buildings has become a top U.S. military priority since the war on terrorism began, Martz said. The new complex will give soldiers based near Camp Hovey the ability to practice those skills without sleeping in the field.

Soldiers and Korean Service corps members began building the project in October. The project was put on hold in February so that the corps could paint the crates after winter passed.

Units already have signed up to use the training site next month.

The complex is designed with narrow alleyways and other challenging features but with safety in mind, officials said. For example, the staircases can support two soldiers in full gear while they evacuate a wounded soldier.

“We didn’t want to make this a little Iraq,” said project manager Capt. Johnny Fields. “We wanted to make this a simulated Korea. This is something you might see in northern South Korea if we had to do this for real.”

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up