Patriot missile battalion moving to Daegu area
Stars and Stripes August 26, 2006
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The U.S. Army will move a Patriot missile battalion from Gwangju to the Daegu area, which is slated to become one of two main regional hubs for U.S. forces in South Korea, officials confirmed Thursday night.
The 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, part of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, is based at Gwangju Air Base, a South Korean air force installation in the peninsula’s southwest.
The unit will move to Camp Carroll in Waegwan, about 40 minutes north of Daegu, by year’s end, said Army Col. John G. Rossi, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade commander.
The move will give the battalion access to the services and conveniences available to other soldiers in Area IV, which is headquartered in Daegu and also takes in Waegwan and Busan.
About 500 battalion troops will move from Gwangju to Camp Carroll in stages to be completed by December, Rossi said.
When Army officials announced in October 2004 that the battalion was being deployed to Gwangju, they said the move was only an “interim” one and the unit eventually would be moved elsewhere.
“It was always considered temporary,” Rossi said of the Gwangju assignment.
“It’s just part of the Army’s big plan and we’re just a small piece of that — to hub everything in the Pyeongtaek area and the Daegu area … this has been in the works for a while,” he said.
The move means troops will be housed in newly renovated barracks on an installation boasting a modern gym, swimming facilities and other amenities. It also would give battalion troops easy access to Army medical and dental facilities at Camp Walker in Daegu.
And the move would afford housing for those authorized to serve accompanied by family members.
Troops also will be closer to an Army equipment-issue facility and to major U.S. military headquarters in the area.
At Gwangju Air Base, the battalion’s barracks and other facilities have been “adequate” but were on a smaller, more limited scale than what awaits troops at Camp Carroll, Rossi said.
Most battalion troops at Gwangju live two to a room. A battalion dining hall, small library, movie theater and a soldiers club are among amenities in the battalion area at the air base.
Besides its Gwangju Air Base unit, the brigade has Patriot missile batteries stationed at three other South Korea locations: Osan Air Base, the brigade’s headquarters; Kunsan Air Base and Suwon Air Base, a South Korean air force installation.
Patriot missiles are designed to knock out incoming aircraft, cruise missiles and tactical ballistic missiles.