CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — It’s been said that to be mayor of New York City is to have "the second toughest job in America."

Nobody says that about being commanding officer of U.S. Army Garrison-Humphreys. But they do sometimes liken the job to being a mayor.

A big part of those mayor-like duties is hosting the steady stream of distinguished visitors who’ve been coming to Humphreys for a look at the $13 billion effort to turn the post into the U.S. military’s flagship installation on the Korean peninsula.

The post, once a sleepy, little-known helicopter base, is in a semi-rural agricultural section of Pyeongtaek, about 55 miles south of Seoul.

In the past two years alone, the Humphreys garrison commander played host to 124 DVs, a roster that included members of Congress, the secretary of the Army, the Army chief of staff, and the sergeant major of the Army.

"We’re the site of the future home of U.S. Forces Korea," said garrison spokesman Robert H. McElroy. "We’re the installation that will be growing — tripling in size — and the population will grow from just under 10,000 to more than 64,000 by end state."

By the time the construction cranes are packed up and the dump trucks have rumbled away, Humphreys will have swelled from 1,210 acres to 3,538.

And workers will have built barracks and family housing complexes, a hospital, medical and dental clinics, schools, gyms, motor pools, parks and other recreational facilities, and new headquarters for senior military commands, including USFK itself.

"So people want to come here to see what the changes are going to be and what the plan is for the changes."

The DVs get a formal briefing on what’s being done to transform Humphreys, usually followed by a trip to a wooden "overlook" platform for a view of barracks construction now under way on a broad parcel that was once rice fields. They’re shown other new facilities if time permits.

The visits often last three or four hours; some are as quick as an hour.

When the garrison changed commanders during a ceremony June 3, Col. Joseph P. Moore replaced Col. John E. Dumoulin Jr.

During remarks at the ceremony, Brig. Gen. John Uberti, commanding officer of the Army’s Installation Management Command-Korea, praised Dumoulin in part for how he fielded "innumerable" VIPs "and was instrumental in telling the Korea transformation story to a myriad of visitors."

Will that parade of DVs diminish anytime soon?

"I don’t anticipate that it will slow down any," McElroy said. Key civilian and military officials "know that the changes are going to happen. But until you get here and see the briefing and see the land, you don’t get a true appreciation for it, just the scope of it."

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