Despite building, Camp Humphreys full
Stars and Stripes November 11, 2009
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Most families assigned to Camp Humphreys in South Korea should expect to live off post and wait up to 18 months before an on-post apartment becomes open, according to Army officials.
Those families also will have to go off post for dental and non-emergency medical care in coming years until facilities are built at Humphreys.
Humphreys is in the midst of a $13 billion construction boom as the post is being tripled in size to eventually become the U.S. military’s chief installation in South Korea and home to the bulk of its Korea-based forces.
But for now, garrison officials are telling new families to be ready to live and get health services off post, Robert H. McElroy, spokesman for U.S. Army Garrison-Humphreys, said Monday.
The number of command-sponsored families assigned to Humphreys has more than doubled in the past year to 498. But Humphreys has apartments for 148 families, all of which have been fully occupied for the past several months.
“Family housing is constantly full now,” McElroy said. “We have a lengthy waiting list for all units.”
The population growth stems partly from the move to transform Humphreys.
Also driving the growth is the U.S. military’s move to increase the number of servicemembers on the peninsula who will be accompanied by families for two- and three-year tours. Until recently, most troops served one-year Korea tours without families.
“Not only are there more families coming here but they’re staying longer,” McElroy said. “So that increases the wait time for newer people coming in.”
For medical and dental care, active-duty troops receive priority treatment at the post medical clinic, which recently underwent a $3 million overhaul so it can handle a post population of up to 20,000.
But until new medical and dental facilities are built at Humphreys, families will have to go off post or travel to the Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital on Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, about a two-hour bus trip each way.