By Cpl. Jung Dong-in, Eighth Army Public AffairsNovember 22, 2016
Yongsan - With the majority of U.S. Forces Korea personnel moving to Camp Humphreys in the near future, Eighth Army has is holding a series of Transformation Town Hall meetings to address the concerns and questions about various aspects of the project. During the most recent Town Hall, which especially focused on the concerns of U.S. civilian workers, held at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, Nov. 17, Eighth Army updated the USFK community on the ongoing transformation and upcoming relocation to Camp Humphreys.
At the beginning of the session, Eighth Army Deputy Commanding General for Operations, Brig. Gen. Thomas C. Graves, asked for the community's understanding regarding potential strains on employees during the transition period.
"The population is going to increase from about 10,000 to 26,000 fairly rapidly at Camp Humphreys," Graves said. "And that's frankly going to put some pressure on some of the services for four to five months until we can get everything caught up. But when we finally get everything caught up, we are going to be in the most remarkable place in the U.S. Army."
Following Graves' remarks, Eighth Army Future Operations Chief, Col. George Shatzer, urged the audience to be proactive in the face of the relocation to Camp Humphreys.
"What's key is that you engage with your leadership," Shatzer said. "If your organization hasn't said much about transformation to you yet, go seek them out and ask them the hard questions about what it means to you individually. Make an effort to get your questions answered because the relocation is going to happen."
Shatzer also said the command was doing its best to cope with delays.
"It's very likely you might hear from neighbors or coworkers about some potential new major delay," Shatzer said. "Anytime we have a delay in the construction schedule, we immediately get working to figure out what the true impact of the delay might be and begin looking at workarounds how to adjust for that to make sure the overall entire process keeps moving forward."
The Deputy Commander of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Patrick Mackenzie, gave an overview of the transformation at Camp Humphreys.
According to Mackenzie, Korean partners invested 10.7 billion dollars into the project, which is approximately 90% of the cost of the transformation effort at Camp Humphreys. Included in the transformation are 655 new buildings, a size increase from 1,041 acres to 3,453 acres and population growth from 11,000 to 42,000 by the time the project is completed.
Bruce Skillin, Chief of USFK Human Resource Office, was also in attendance to explain relocation procedures and employment issues for members of U.S. civilian workforce.
According to Skillin, 200 days before the move of a position, the command will ask employees if they are planning to move with their jobs to Camp Humphreys to allow the command to plan for the number of personnel who will make the transition from Yongsan to Humphreys. Ninety days before, employees will be notified of the move with formal decision memos. Once notified, they have to decide whether to keep or leave their positions within 7 days.
Shatzer ended the session by encouraging attendees to keep communicating with their leadership.
"Please talk with your organization's management," Shatzer said. "Ask them questions, let them know your intentions and keep that dialogue open because that will be very important."
For more information on the relocation, visit the Eighth Army Transformation and Relocation website at http://8tharmy.korea.army.mil/transformation/.