By Tim Oberle, Eighth Army Public AffairsApril 7, 2016
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- With the majority of U.S. military personnel in South Korea scheduled to relocate south of Seoul over the next few years, there are many unanswered questions. Eighth Army Commander Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal set out to answer some of those questions April 6 by hosting a Transformation Townhall for Area II.
Over 300 Servicemembers, civilians and family members packed into the South Post Chapel at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan to hear what representatives from each of the major installation services had to say about the move including Department of Defense Education Activity, the 65th Medical Brigade, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Defense Commissary Agency, and the Department of Human Resource Management.
Kicking things off, Garrison Commander Maria Eoff outlined the focus of the townhall and assured everyone that maintaining quality of life throughout the relocation is a priority.
"The purpose of today's joint townhall…is to provide our community with an update on the transformation and relocation efforts and to give you an opportunity to ask questions," said Eoff. "There are three focus areas. The first is to update you on the progress of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, the second is to give you an update on the current unit schedules, and the third is to highlight the…services and support (plan) for the entire Yongsan community. Programs and services that we will be providing at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan will be up to Army standard (throughout)."
While a relocation of this magnitude is certain to come with delays, Vandal explained that the command is dedicated to providing as much transparency as possible.
"The last time we actually did (a townhall) was about nine months ago and there has been a lot of new information since then," said Vandal. "This is something we want to do regularly…because at the end of the day this is about being as transparent as we possibly can to ensure that everyone knows what the timelines are. By being transparent you will also be cognizant that (with) something of this magnitude… there will (inevitably) be some delays."
Following Vandal's comments, Eighth Army plans officer Lt. Col. Julian Smith outlined tentative dates for the move and the panel of subject matter experts answered questions for those in attendance. The next Townhall is scheduled to take place May 18 at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys. Eighth Army will post a flyer on the Eighth Army Facebook page with the time and location for the townhall as the event draws closer.