PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — The number of command-sponsored families at Camp Humphreys is growing so fast — up a third in nine months — that commissary sales and other on-base earnings are way up, officials said Wednesday.

About 250 more command-sponsored military families have arrived since November, increasing the population of soldiers and their dependents by another 660 people, said Lori Yerdon, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Garrison-Humphreys.

The influx brings to 1,750 the number of command-sponsored soldiers and family members at Humphreys, she said. The post’s total population is about 10,000, Yerdon said.

The surge is showing up in higher sales at the post exchange and other on-post services, but especially at the commissary, she said.

The commissary’s sales stand at $7.7 million, up by about $1.29 million from last October, a 20 percent rise, Yerdon said. Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, whose services include such things as on-post clubs, the bowling center and water park, have seen an overall increase in revenues of 18 percent from June 2009 to June 2010, Yerdon said.

All the services have been able to keep merchandise stocked to meet the growing customer demand, she said.

The increase in command-sponsored families comes as the U.S. military continues its push toward “tour-normalization,” stationing troops in South Korea for two- and three-year periods with their families instead of the one-year tours without families that had been the norm for decades.

It also reflects the plan to transform Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek in coming years into the U.S. military’s flagship installation and home to the bulk of U.S. forces in South Korea.

Despite the population growth, the waiting time for on-post housing remains 12 to 18 months, Yerdon said.

“Not everybody wants to live on post, contrary to popular belief,” she said.

Humphreys’ family housing areas have room for 148 families, and have been fully occupied since last year. More family units are under construction and even more will be built within six years, when Humphreys expansion is expected to be completed.

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