By Mr. Franklin Fisher (Red Cloud)March 7, 2016
CAMP RED CLOUD -- The three-star general in charge of running U.S. Army installations worldwide visited Korea last week to tour bases, meet commanders and gauge how to best support their forces on the peninsula.
The tour of bases by Lt. Gen. Kenneth R. Dahl, Commander of U.S. Army Installation Management Command, ran five days, from Feb. 22 through 26, and was his first Korea visit since assuming command of IMCOM last November.
Dahl said he'd made the visit for an up-to-date look at how IMCOM's installations can best support the commanders of U.S. Forces Korea and Eighth Army.
"If we're going to know how to best support them, then we need to know what it is we're supporting," said Dahl.
Dahl made the trip at a time when the U.S. military in Korea is in the early stages of a carefully orchestrated repositioning of forces that will see units gradually consolidated into two regional hubs. One hub is at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, the other in the Daegu area. The U.S. military in Korea calls the process "transformation."
"So many things are dynamic, fluid, and changing in Korea, that I realized I need to come and see it for myself," Dahl said. "I haven't been here since I left as a captain in 1989, so I had a lot of refreshing to do."
IMCOM garrisons see to the day-to-day operation of Army posts and ensure that key facilities and services are up and running.
That includes such day-to-day basics as keeping roads in good repair, providing electricity, heat and hot water, as well as upkeep of barracks, dining halls, motor pools, offices, medical clinics and other structures. They also operate recreational and other facilities that include physical fitness centers, eateries, libraries, bowling alleys and movie theaters.
Among those accompanying Dahl was IMCOM's senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey S. Hartless, Dr. Christine Altendorf, Region Director of IMCOM-Pacific, and IMCOM-Pacific's senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy D. Hockenberry.
IMCOM's four Korea garrisons are numbered in north-south regional order: Area I, Area II, Area III and Area IV.
Garrison officials in each area briefed Dahl on how transformation is progressing in their respective regions.
And in the course of the week's visits he held separate meetings with several senior military leaders, among them: Lt. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal, Commanding General of Eighth Army; Maj. Gen. James T. "Jim" Walton, Director of Restationing with U.S. Forces Korea and Maj. Gen. David W. Puster, Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General-Sustainment; Maj. Gen. Theodore D. "Ted" Martin, Commanding General of the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S. Combined Division; the Combined division's Deputy Commanding General for Support, Brig. Gen. John R. Evans Jr.; and Brig. Gen. John P. Sullivan, Commanding General of the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command.
Also in each area, Dahl attended luncheons with key garrison staff and fielded their questions, which were mainly on IMCOM and other policies that affect the Korea garrisons.
Dahl began his garrison visits Feb. 22 on Yongsan Garrison in Seoul. The post serves as headquarters of U.S. Forces Korea, the senior U.S. military command in the country, as well as Eighth Army, the top U.S. Army component in Korea.
Dahl met with Col. Maria P. Eoff, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, which manages installations in Area II that include Yongsan and also K-16, a U.S. compound inside Seoul Air Base, a South Korean Air Force installation.
Among other activities at Yongsan, Dahl was given a windshield tour of the post, and, at K-16, toured a construction site and the post's Community Activity Center.
The second day of his tour, Feb. 23, took him north to Area I in the northwest of South Korea. There here he was met by Col. Jack Haefner, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I.
Area I, also known as Warrior Country, is where the Combined Division is headquartered and where the bulk of the Army's ground combat forces are currently stationed. The division is also known as the Warrior Division.
The garrison manages installations widely dispersed across Area I, a region that sprawls from near the Demilitarized Zone south to Uijeongbu, a city about an hour north of Seoul, South Korea's capital.
During his Area I visit, Dahl toured facilities at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, a training range near the Demilitarized Zone. He got a look at barracks, a medical aid station, chapel, kitchen facility, gym, a laundry, and a food court.
At Camp Casey in Dongducheon, Dahl saw barracks, a railhead, fire station, and motor pool. At Camp Stanley in Uijeongbu he saw an aircraft hangar, warehouse, and then boarded a van for a windshield tour of the post, before heading to Camp Red Cloud, also in Uijeongbu, where Dahl met with top leadership of the Warrior Division.
On Feb. 24 Dahl visited Daegu, in Area IV, where U.S. Army Garrison Daegu manages installations that form the U.S. military's key logistical hub in the country. The garrison is headquartered on Camp Henry in Daegu, as is the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, a major logistical headquarters.
In Daegu Dahl met with Col. Ted Stephens, Commander, USAG Daegu, and was shown family housing on Camp George, school facilities on Camp George and Camp Walker, and an Aquatics Center on Camp Walker.
On Feb. 25, still in Daegu, Dahl visited Camp Carroll in Waegwan, where he was shown the post's pre-positioned stocks of combat equipment, ammunition and supplies.
Later that day Dahl went to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, where the single largest construction effort in the history of the Department of Defense is underway -- a $10.4 billion project that will triple the post's acreage and make it the eventual home of most U.S. ground forces in Korea.
At Camp Humphreys, Dahl met with Col. Joseph C. Holland, Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, which covers Area III.
Dahl also went up by helicopter for an aerial overview of construction underway on the post.
After the flight, Dahl was taken to the post's newest Army Family Housing unit, and later toured a structure called the Morning Calm Center, which, when completed, will house a restaurant, food court, Casino and spaces that can be used for entertainment functions or conferences.
His second day at Camp Humphreys, Feb. 26, included a tour of a building called "One-Stop," which will serve as a consolidated processing station for Soldiers reporting to or departing Area III, and will also serve as a central location for key community services.
In addition he toured a newly opened railhead, a vehicle maintenance facility, and hangars of an Apache attack helicopter squadron, part of the Combined Division's 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, which is headquartered at Camp Humphreys.
Also while at Camp Humphreys, Dahl spoke to a group of Soldiers from Task Force Ready, an engineer battalion drawn from bases in Texas, Louisiana, and Hawaii, and serving a nine-month rotation in Korea. Dahl took occasion to underline the importance of their rotational service.
"I would trade places with any one of you," he told them. "You all joined the Army to be of service and do something meaningful. Serving here," said Dahl, they were making a distinct contribution to the strength of U.S. forces in Korea.
IMCOM is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas.