By Bob McElroy, USAG Humphreys Public AffairsNovember 15, 2016
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- They opened a week apart and differ in function but the new Army and Air Force Exchange Troop Minimall and the American Forces Network Korea Broadcast Center both represent a step into the future for Camp Humphreys.
The PX Minimall officially opened for business following a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 8. It is the first new AAFES facility to open in support of the troops and families who will move to Camp Humphreys from Area I and Yongsan.
The $6.2 million, approximately 24,000 square-foot facility features an expanded troop store with everything from food to toiletries, beverages to auto supplies, uniform items to computer peripherals.
There's also a 124-seat food court with a Taco Bell and Subway sandwich shop; a Starbucks coffee shop will open soon. The Minimall also has an eight-chair barbershop and a dry cleaner.
The best thing about it, it's across the street from the troop barracks where rotational Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division live.
AAFES General Manager Stanley Young said that now that the Minimall is open, Soldiers don't have to ride a bus 30 minutes to go to the Main PX or barbershop.
"This provides a service to them they were looking for," Young said. "It means a lot of convenience."
U.S. Army Garrison Humphrey commander Col. Joseph C. Holland said they Minimall opening represents the delivery of a different kind of service to the Soldiers.
Earlier in the year the garrison opened new troop barracks, maintenance facilities and a gym, the Minimall provides retail service and support in an area that had none, Holland said.
Karin Duncan the Exchange senior vice president for the overseas region said the new Minimall was important in numerous ways but especially because its sales will generate additional dividends that will improve the quality of life for all service members.
"We hope you will enjoy your new facility and we look forward to opening four new facilities next year including a 300,000 square foot PX," she said.
The Minimall is part of a troop support area that includes a gym, a chapel, a movie theater and a Warrior Zone. The chapel and gym opened several months ago, the theater and Warrior Zone will open at a later date.
AFN-Korea opens new broadcast facility
Seven days after the new AAFES Minimall opened, the American Forces Network Korea officially opened its new broadcast center here on Nov. 15.
Ray Shepherd, the Director of the Defense Media Activity, AFN's higher headquarters, said the new facility continues AFN's long tradition of bringing news, information and entertainment to the men and women serving in Korea.
Shepherd looked back at AFN's origins in Korea, shortly after the Incheon landings in September 1950.
"Because of the swiftly-changing front lines in the early part of the war the transmitters and studios were located in mobile vans and moved with the units to ensure the continuing broadcasting capability," he said.
Shepherd said that because they were mobile, the studios didn't have geographical identities, instead they had names like Vagabond, Mercury, Kilroy, Comet and Gypsy.
"Pusan Radio was the only permanent station at that location at the time and it was called Radio Homesteader," Shepherd said.
Later AFN set up a permanent station in Yongsan and in 1954 it added television broadcast capability and covered the entire Korean peninsula as American Forces Korea Network.
"And, now, 66 years later our commitment to the men and women who serve on the peninsula has never wavered," Shepherd said. "AFN-Korea is dedicated to bringing the latest in quality radio and television programming, news, entertainment and command information to the thousands of military personnel, family members and civilians serving in the Republic of Korea."
Shepherd said that AFN will use the technology in the new Humphreys facility to continue telling the U.S. Forces Korea story.
"We look forward to bringing you the touch of home through AFN-Korea radio, television and social media capabilities that you've come to know us for over the years."
The Humphreys facility has 26,188 square feet of space on the first floor and 20,591square feet on the second. It has three radio studios, one of which broadcasts to the Yongsan area now that the AFN Yongsan facility has closed. AFN will build another radio studio soon. It also has a cavernous television studio with state of the art video technology.
AFN Osan continues to broadcast to Osan and Humphreys but will move to Humphreys in March or April 2017. AFN Casey will move when the 2nd Infantry Division moves to Camp Humphreys at a later date.