BORYEONG, Republic of Korea - More than 500 American and Korean Soldiers from garrisons across the Korean peninsula came together June 12-14 at Boryeong, one of Korea's most happening beach towns located about three hours southwest of Seoul.

The 17th annual Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers Beach Blast, this year at Daecheon Beach, had a larger turnout than in previous years, which was widely attributed to word-of-mouth.

"I wasn't here last year to know how cool this trip would turn out, but everyone was talking about it and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised," Pfc. Zachery Curly said.

Troops from Areas I-IV competed in competitions including watermelon-eating, human pyramids and tug-of-war.

"The human pyramid contest was the most entertaining," Curley said. "The Areas faced off to see which group could form a pyramid most quickly, with the person on top required to down a bottle of water to complete the competition. Who knew the military had so many people with cheerleading skills'"

The troops paid $89 per person to have a weekend of fun in the sun. "We have about eight big events for the Soldiers each year and subsidize funds to help allow them to get exposure to certain things they may not experience otherwise," Installation Management Command-Korea BOSS Regional Manager Shaun Ally said prior to the event.

The beachgoers were suited up in a variety of apparel, but some chose to accent their threads by armoring their bodies in suits of mud.

The beach has a mud source that is said to be extremely nourishing to the skin and is sold and distributed at many locations. The beach is visited by more than 10 million people annually who can soak up the mud for free.

Each year, tourists are attracted to Mudfest July 11-19, which includes various events such as bathing in a massive mud tub, making mud soap, mud massages, mud wrestling contest, mud sliding, mud prison and a mud photo contest. Foreign tourists are given priority at the events and provided with mud cosmetics and round-trip bus tickets to nearby attractions.

Those interested in attending Mudfest may call 041-930-3822 or visit

In addition to beachside activities, attendees of the Area III hosted event were able to visit a water park.

The Beach Blast happened to fall on the Army's 234th anniversary weekend. Troops ate cake together in celebration of the Army birthday before packing up and heading back to their bases.

Follow USAG-Yongsan on Twitter, Flickr and become a fan on Facebook! Learn more about serving in Korea at the USAG-Yongsan Web site.