Signal Soldiers Say Goodbye to Uijeongbu
March 1, 2013
The city of Uijeongbu is probably best known as the host village depicted in the American television series MASH. In reality, the city has continued to host thousands of U.S. forces in support of Korea's national defense since the end of the Korean War. The Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Bravo Company, and Charlie Company, 304th ESB have been tenants for the past seven years.
The 304th ESB began a community partnership with the city of Uijeongbu when its prior home, Camp Colburn, was returned to the Korean government over seven years ago under the same program. Since then, the 304th ESB has established life-long friendships through its countless engagements of cultural and sponsorship exchange programs with the Uijeongbu community.
Sgt. Isabel G. Castillo, a cable systems installer/maintainer with the 304th ESB, said that she met some of her Korean friends while teaching English to members of the Uijeongbu community. In the 18 months that she has lived at Camp Stanley, her Korean friends have taken her to places where most Soldiers wouldn't normally go.
"They've taken me to temples, holiday celebrations, and even bungee jumping." Castillo says that she will miss her friends but plans to visit and remain in touch through the popular Korean text message phone application Kakao Talk.
304th ESB recently shared American traditions when it hosted a Halloween party for Kyuming high school students. Activities included dressing up in costumes, pumpkin carving, bowling, a three legged race, and a piñata.
"We've worked very hard to keep up a good neighbor program," said Maj. John L. Sanders, executive officer 304th ESB. "We are working with our replacements, the 23rd Chemical Battalion, to ensure continuity with our community outreach programs."
"The city of Uijeongbu has been a gracious host to the 304th (ESB) and will forever be remembered as a great partner in facilitating the U.S./ROK alliance," said Lt. Col. Mark S. Parker, commander 304th ESB.
The two most popular responses by service members when asked, "what will you miss most about Uijeongbu?" were the convenience of having everything within walking distance on Camp Stanley and all of the wonderful shopping in downtown Uijeongbu.
When asked, "what do you most look forward to at Camp Humphreys?" the most popular answer was, "the new barracks."
The 304th ESB began convoys to transition personnel and equipment from Camp Stanley to Camp Humphreys in accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Korean governments under the Land Partnership Program.
Both nations agreed to relocate the majority of U.S. Army forces in South Korea to Camp Humphreys. Over the past several years Camp Humphreys has been expanding and building new facilities to accommodate 45,000 service and family members.
We look forward to integrating into the Camp Humphreys military community and expand upon our bonds with our Korean partners in Pyongtaek, said Parker.
Alpha Company, 304th ESB, is already resident to Camp Humphreys.
Ms. Yi, Myong Ae, a budget analyst and a resident of northern Seoul, is the only civilian that the 304th ESB employs full time. She has been a member of the 304th for 12 years and remembers the move from Camp Colburn.
"I didn't know anyone until I joined the church on base," said Yi. "But I moved here because I am dedicated to my job. That is why I am moving to Camp Humphreys."
The 304th ESB is tasked to deploy and provide tactical communications support anywhere in the Pacific region on short notice.
"If the 304th go to Hawaii, I go to Hawaii too," said a smiling Yi.